Attorney General Shapiro Secures $20K in Restitution for Couples Jilted by Philadelphia Wedding Venue

May 30, 2018 | Topic: Consumers

HARRISBURG – Following the unexpected closing of a Fishtown wedding venue in April, Attorney General Josh Shapiro today announced that four couples left suddenly without a location for their big day will receive full restitution for their deposits – $20,250 in total – as part of a settlement secured by the Office of Attorney General’s Bureau of Consumer Protection.

Christos Aivazoglou, also known as Chris Voz, entered into the settlement on behalf of Skybox Events and CCP Catering and Hospitality, LLC. The settlement requires the businesses to refund full deposits paid for events that can no longer occur Aivazoglou’s business was operating illegally on an expired city permit.

“Skybox accepted deposits and reservations from these Pennsylvania consumers – even though the business was operating illegally,” Attorney General Shapiro. “When the venue was shut down, couples lost their deposit and were left scrambling to find a new wedding location. My Office’s Bureau of Consumer Protection stepped in to secure full restitution for these couples, and I’m committed to making sure no company rips off Pennsylvanians and gets away with it.”

Attorney General Shapiro asked any other affected Pennsylvania consumers to contact his Bureau of Consumer Protection 800-441-2555 or email to file a complaint. They must do so by June 28 to be eligible for restitution.

The event space known as the Skybox and Joia Rooms, in the 2400 block of East York Street in Philadelphia, had a Special Assembly and Occupancy License, which is required for gathering spaces with dancing and more than 50 people — but it expired nearly three years ago in August 2015. Two years passed before the event space was cited by city officials for violating the Philadelphia Code. A cease-operations order was issued, and the facility shut its doors in April.

The sudden closing harmed Matthew Chin and his fiancé Dana Pidliskey, who had booked the Fishtown venue for a November 2018 wedding. Pidliskey’s mother paid a $3,000 deposit on the venue in January 2017.

“My fiancé and I were excited about having our wedding at Skybox after we paid them a $3,000 deposit,” said Matthew Chin. “We were shocked when it unexpectedly closed —  without a single word from the venue owner, Chris Voz. The closure forced us to spend more than what we budgeted for on another venue that we were forced to book at the last minute. We’re very grateful that Attorney General Josh Shapiro and his Bureau of Consumer Protection stepped up to protect consumers like my fiancé and myself. Getting our deposit returned will be tremendously helpful in covering the costs we were forced to endure due to the Skybox’s closure.”

As part of the settlement entered with the Office of Attorney General Bureau of Consumer Protection, Aivazoglou and his company will:

Pay full restitution of $20,250 to the four consumers who have filed complaints, and pay additional restitution to eligible consumers who file complaints within a 30-day period.

Not violate Pennsylvania’s Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law in the future; and

Pay investigation costs of $2,500 to the Commonwealth.

Affected consumers should file a complaint with the Bureau of Consumer Protection before the Thursday, June 28 deadline. The settlement, called an Assurance of Voluntary Compliance, was filed in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court by Deputy Attorney General Melissa L. Kaplan.

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