Angry brides tell of wedding scams
Original article written by Shaun Smillie and was published in IOL on 26 March 2012. The original article can be accessed here www.iol.co.za
Mariaan Stols cried when she walked down the aisle. But these weren’t a bride’s tears of happiness. She cried because she was angry.
Angry, she said, because she felt her big day had been ruined by her wedding planner. “As I was walking down the aisle, all I could think of was How the hell can a person do this to another person?”
Stols isn’t alone.
More angry brides have come forward with similar stories.
They are accusing wedding planner Alfred Muntz of conning them out of money, of theft, and of not providing the service promised.
Cases have been opened with the police, a Facebook group has been set up to warn future brides, and some have vowed to bring him to justice.
Stols was married in Ventersdorp, North West, in January.
“He (Muntz) pitched up an hour-and-a-half before the wedding,” she said. Stols said it got worse from there. He hadn’t organised the bar or cutlery, and even got the colours of her flowers wrong.
“Luckily I had bought a lot of booze that weekend. My guests had to wait for other people to finish eating so they could use my cutlery,” she said, adding that Muntz still owes her R36 000.
Debbie Pearce has opened a case of fraud against Muntz at the Parkview police station in Joburg after he allegedly failed to return a R50 000 deposit.
In October last year, Pearce hired Muntz to co-ordinate her wedding, which was planned to take place next month. She paid a deposit of R50 000, but by February, after realising he had allegedly done little to organise the wedding, she cancelled. The problem then, she said, was trying to get her deposit back.
“He told me this was not a problem. He told me that if the money was not in my account, he would pay me in cash. I waited for him in Rosebank but he never pitched up,” Pearce said.
Another angry customer, who earlier this month registered her complaint against Muntz on the Hello Peter website under the name Jaan, warned other brides against hiring him.
She said she paid “a lot of money”, and her wedding was ruined.
“He arrived one-and-a-half hours before the guests arrived, with no decor, no Persian carpets, crystal wine glasses, plates or cutlery,” “Jaan” said.
She said the bar arrangement did not materialise and that Muntz spent the evening in the kitchen preparing the food.
There were no waiters in Arabian clothes, her flowers were wrong, and she wept as she walked down the aisle.
“I cried for many reasons … I can go on and on telling you more details. He owes me and other brides a lot of money. Please don’t make the same mistake,” “Jaan” wrote.
It is not only brides who have complaints about Muntz. His previous employer, Otto de Jager, has hired a private investigator to track him down.
“This man comes across like an angel,” said De Jager. “You would never think he is capable of such a thing.”
De Jager, an events manager, alleges that Muntz stole props and images from his visual library.
Now some of Muntz’s alleged victims have set up a Facebook page to warn others.
The group is titled “The Alfred Muntz Group, crooked, cheated and conned”. On the site, others vent their anger at the wedding planner.
“My last contact with him was through Mariaan Stols when I did a wedding in Ventersdorp. He never paid me, and made sure that the bride and myself had no contact with each other,” wrote one of the members on the site, who is a wedding photographer.
Another alleged victim, Marie-Louise Meyer, who Muntz he got to do contract work for him, wants to bring him to justice. She has been gathering information from other alleged victims.
Police spokeswoman Warrant Officer Lorraine van Emmerik, of the Booysens police station, where one of the fraud cases was opened, said an arrest warrant was in place.
But those who have had dealings with Muntz said finding him would be difficult.
“He moves around a lot, and it is believed he is staying at hotels and not paying,” said Meyer.
Attempts to contact Muntz were unsuccessful. - The Star