WASHINGTON (FOX 5 DC) - The D.C. Attorney General is bringing a lawsuit against a wedding venue for not providing refunds or rescheduling events that were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Loft at 600 F is a company that owns and operates an event venue in the District located at 600 F St NW. The company, which also does business as DC Event Hub, rents the venue out for weddings and other parties.
Loft at 600 F charged rental fees ranging from $3,500 to over $10,000 per event, and consumers signed contracts for venue rentals months in advance.
Consumers were required to put down deposits to secure their rental and pay all event fees 90 days ahead of their event.
However, the contracts also included a clause saying that if it became impossible to hold the event for reasons beyond the control of the consumers or the venue, the consumers could reschedule their event or receive a refund.
The company Loft at 600 F didn't respond to phone calls from customers who had put down more than $10,000 in deposits and wanted to reschedule their wedding after it was canceled during the pandemic, according to the complaint.
The filing says the company initially told one customer they would reschedule the event, but then did not respond to multiple calls and emails.
"You can imagine someone who has planned a wedding," says Director of Consumer Protection Ben Wiseman. "It's a very special event, has put a lot of emotional and financial energy into planning that event, you know, to not get a response even from a company even though your contract had those protections in it. You know, puts a real strain on people who are already facing a public health and financial crisis."
D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine is not only seeking restitution and damages for the victims but also going after the company for money damages for violating D.C. consumer protection laws, meaning if the AG's office is successful, the company would have to foot all of the legal bills.
"Businesses must abide by their policies and contracts and follow the District’s consumer protection laws – even during a pandemic. Yet the Loft at 600 F failed to do both, withholding thousands of dollars for weddings and events that could not go forward as the pandemic raged. Our lawsuit will right this wrong," said AG Racine. "We’re suing the Loft at 600 F to make sure consumers get their money back and to stop this event venue from continuing to violate the District’s consumer protection laws."
The Loft at 600 F sent FOX 5's this statement:
"The Loft at 600 F has complied with all D.C. mandates related to COVID-19 resulting in a shutdown of business. Beyond that, we can't comment due to pending litigation."