BALI WEDDING BLUES
An Australian wedding planner, organising weddings in Bali, has gone into receivership with various reports alleging several hundreds of thousands of dollars in client's money has been lost.
Some couples were about to board planes for Bali for their wedding before hearing of the devastating news. They had paid the full amount for the wedding only to find out, that venues haven't been booked or paid for. The company at the centre operates at least two websites: www.balidluxe.com and www.balidluxeweddingsandevents.com, both are still online. The owner of the company is reported to be a Ms. Catherine Williams, trading under Australian registered company name Acceler8 Group Pty Ltd (ABN 62 538 036 723). RSM Bird Cameron have been appointed receivers and anyone financially affected by this are asked to contact them at: www.rsmi.com.au or directly with Mr Louis Bailey on (08) 9261 9100 or by email at email@example.com.
Some may have a chance of getting their money refunded if they paid Bali Deluxe using a credit card or selecting credit on a debit card. You should seek a chargeback (transaction reversal) from your card provider because you did not receive any goods or services in return for the amount you had paid. ABC News reports that a string of complaints from couples about Bali D'Luxe had prompted the Western Australian Department of Commerce through its consumer protection agency to put out an alert about the company.
The consumer protection alert said reported losses, as well as findings through monitoring of social media, blogs and traveller websites, indicate a number of couples have lost as much as $180,000 in total. One such couple, Claire from Melbourne and her American fiancé used the company to help plan their wedding in Bali next May. Claire said she has lost her $13,000 deposit. "I have been in touch with about four other couples, some who only lost $3,000 and others $25,000, all Aussies."
"We were referred to her (Catherine Williams) by The Bali Bible - I trusted the Bali Bible as we have a lot of mutual friends with them. Our wedding isn't until May next year so I wasn't worried but then I wanted to get our invites out and emailed her (Williams). I didn't hear back, so I emailed two more times, then I emailed the Bali Bible to ask for their help for accommodation. "I Googled her on Tuesday and saw the TripAdvisor forum and my heart melted – I knew that she had closed down her company.” she told the ABC.
It is the second case of an Australian Wedding agent having problems and people losing money in recent times, so be warned. You obviously need to take precautions and paying someone the full amount, (for anything) has to have an element of risk attached to it.
Talking exclusively with My Bali Guide, Bali weddings pioneer Katrina Simorangkir (Director of Bali Weddings International) said, “I feel so badly for the couples who have been affected by this operation. It is a terrible state of affairs and affects not only the customers but also their suppliers. The loss figures I have heard quoted is in the hundreds of thousands of dollars but that is just what is owed to clients there are also many, many vendors (like florists, photographers, caterers and hotels and venues etc…. ) who have provided services and have not been paid, so the effects of this are far reaching indeed. As far as I know D'Luxe are only a business in Australia - and as such had no right to be operating here in Bali in the first place.” she said.
“I am right now working on re-organizing a wedding ceremony for a couple who are due to marry here on the 14th October at a resort in Uluwatu and who had booked with D'Luxe. Fortunately, their villa accommodation was paid for but they have lost around $30,000 for everything else (ie: wedding ceremony, flowers, decorations, photography, food & beverage, sound system, lighting etc… etc), none of it was even booked. This young couple have 2 small children and 50 guests coming to Bali for their wedding ceremony and celebration, they simply cannot afford to spend that money over again. We are making arrangements to have the ceremony at their resort and then have their reception at a less costly place afterwards.
"If there are others out there that I can help re-organise their special day in Bali I am more than happy to assist them."
This is my 23rd year of arranging weddings and events in Bali. We are licensed to operate, our western staff have proper Indonesian work permits, we pay taxes. we pay our employees and we run a cash business (meaning that we receive the money from our clients and the invoice from our vendors and/or venues and we pay by the due date every time without fail). We would have literally hundreds of vendors and venues who can vouch for this fact.
We are legitimate and safe.........but so many others are not and I hope this situation does not result in people feeling that it is simply not safe to plan a wedding in Bali. I hope that people understand there are some very good, honest and legitimate operators here but they need to do their due diligence in checking carefully who they are entrusting the most important day of their lives to.”
We asked Katrina how does one go about due diligence and checking the bona fides of a wedding organiser. “The trouble is it's just so easy with the internet to make something look professional and legitimate and customers forget to look deeper. It's difficult for clients to know who is, and who is not operating legally but I would suggest that a simple way is to ensure that any funds they pay are going into an Indonesian bank account in the name of the business they are dealing with (eg: people pay our fees to our bank here and our account name is the same as our business name. If people do not have a registered company they cannot open a bank account here so it would be one of the first things to look for. Also ask for a list of vendors and suppliers they use, a few phone calls and emails could at least establish if they pay their bills on time.”
Those needing assistance can contact Katrina Simorangkir at :
PT. BALI WEDDINGS INTERNATIONAL
Jalan Pucuk Bang, Banjar Tangtu, Kesiman - Bali Indonesia
+62-361-7442084, +62-361-466129, +62-361-466133 +62-361-465434