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Caterer never delivers food, or delivers inedible food; doesn't return money, customers say

Digital payment apps don't offer buyer protection

Imagine hosting Christmas dinner for friends and family and the caterer doesn't show. On top of that, you paid upfront and your money hasn't been returned.

It happened to a number of people, including Nicole Mucci.

"I was really upset, to be honest with you," Mucci said.

Mucci is a blogger and a busy mom with two small children, so when it came to hosting Christmas and New Year's Eve dinner for family and friends, she decided to have it catered.

"Because then I don't have to cook, you know, it takes the stress out of the holidays," she said. But the situation created even more stress.

Mucci says she contacted PLC catering, which she found on Facebook and had used before, but last Christmas Eve, she got much different results. The food never arrived.

"People were like in shock," she said. When she went to PLC's Facebook page, she realized she wasn't alone.

According to receipts, Mucci paid Gina Gonzalez, who operates PLC Catering, $195 in advance. Many other people who also prepaid for Christmas dinner sent News 6 their receipts.

"We're working people," Mucci said. "We work hard for our money, so it's just not right that you take people's money and then all of a sudden, feel like you don't have to give it back."

PLC issued a statement on Facebook saying they would be issuing refunds. However as of March 1 many people still haven't received one.

PLC also posted that Gonzalez, also known as "Chef G," was in a very serious accident and then suffered a stroke, and that's the reason the food wasn't delivered.

"I don't buy the accident," Mucci said. Perhaps that's because of what she later learned.

'INEDIBLE' WEDDING CAKE

Michelle Elflein says in 2016, her wedding was beautiful, but the only thing that wasn't was the cake.

"You can't get your wedding day back," Elflein said.

Elflein says she ordered her wedding cake from Gina Gonzalez, who was then doing business on Facebook as Cakes, Desserts, and Catering by G.

"It was hard as a rock. It wasn't edible. There were wires sticking out. Completely not what I ordered," Elflein said. "I'm very shocked to hear she's still doing this."

After the cake fail, Elflein asked Gonzalez for a refund, which she never got. She took Gonzalez to court and won.

According to court records, Gonzalez was ordered to pay $230 plus another $133 in court costs, but nearly three years later Elflein says she still hasn't gotten a dime.

"It should be illegal to be doing this," Elflein said.

Mucci and Elflein don't believe there was an accident on Christmas Eve because Elflein says on her wedding day there was also an emergency.

"She told me she got preeclampsia that day. That was her story," Elflein said. "I don't buy it, they always have some extravagant story it seems like."

Gonzalez declined an on-camera interview with News 6 but said she is extremely sorry and she's working to pay back everyone she owes.

According to state records, neither of Gonzalez's businesses had an actual business license from the state.

The big takeaway: Just because someone advertises on Facebook does not mean they have a legitimate business.

All of the people News 6 spoke with say they were asked to pay using cash or digital payment services. Most apps like Cash App, Venmo, and Zelle do not offer buyer protection.  

If someone tells you that's the only payment they accept, unless you trust them 100 percent with your money, don't do it.


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