Seller forgoes birthday balloon arch order and refuses to offer couple a refund

By Marie Saavedra

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CHICAGO (WBBM) — We’ve heard a lot about cancellation policies and confusion related to COVID. Now we have a new one – a seller canceling, bailing out, then refusing to repay. That’s what happened to a suburban couple who were having a big birthday party.

Alessandra Gallo had big plans for her husband Michael’s 40th birthday to bring back memories of the good old days.

“We grew up on the North Side of Chicago, so Harlem Avenue was very popular at the time, and that’s where he spent a lot of time,” Alessandra said. “It was just loud and that’s exactly what his personality is.”

To bring his vision to life, Gallo hired CBA Balloons on Instagram to make him a flashy balloon arch, after seeing the beautiful displays the company has created for birthdays, weddings and graduations.

“Her page was pretty legit and had a good number of followers,” Alessandra said.

CBS Ballon’s Instagram account boasts 300 posts, nearly two thousand followers, and a promise to turn “your space into a world of imagination.”

But an imaginary world is exactly what Alessandra got for the $250 sent to the company through Zelle.

“It’s frustrating,” she said.

Let’s go back. Three days before the big event, Michelle, the owner of CBA Balloons, sent a text message titled “Emergency Attention”. He said his entire team had been infected with COVID and they couldn’t run ANY events this weekend.

The post also said customers could get credit for a future event, but no cash refunds.

“It’s not right,” Michael said.

The booking form Alessandra filled out on Instagram read, “In the event of cancellation or unforeseen issues, we offer deferral/full credit/no cash refunds.”

“I think it could really be a huge misunderstanding,” Alessandra said.

Alessandra never thought she would lose $250 if the SELLER canceled, and when she tried to text CBA Balloons about the policy, she said, “my number has been blocked.”

“So I tried to call. I went straight to voicemail,” she added.

In addition to all this, CBA Balloons is also linked with the FHG Floral Event and Design company. This company has an F rating and a slew of similar complaints on its Better Business Bureau profile.

And another red flag, one of Alessandra’s co-workers texted CBA Balloons as a test to see what would happen if she ordered a balloon arrangement the same day Alessandra’s arch was canceled.

“She texted back within minutes saying ‘Yeah, no problem, we can take your event,'” Alessandra said.

Again, it was the same weekend that CBA Balloons canceled Alessandra and said they couldn’t run any events.

“Be careful,” said Alessandra.

Luckily, Michael’s 40th was still a success, thanks to a few last-minute decorations.

“Party City came out strong at the end of the day,” said Alessandra.

But if you’re considering buying one of the ABC’s Valentine’s Day packages, be sure to consider both your heart and your wallet.

The owner insisted that it was her policy not to refund, even if she was the one cancelling.

The Gallos maintain they never imagined that if the balloon company canceled there would be a credit but no refund, even though the booking form they signed said exactly that.

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