Dells chapel originally denies refund after groom dies

Dells chapel originally denies refund after groom dies
Dells Bells

A Wisconsin Dells wedding chapel has changed its rebate policy regarding couples who cancel events at their facility because of a death.

The change came after Rikki Quamme canceled her upcoming wedding at the Dells Bells Wedding Chapel due to the death of her fiancé, Matthew Bahls, and struggled to get a $155 refund for her future mother-in-law who had placed the deposit on the location.

The wedding was set for March 18, Bahls’ 40th birthday, but he died from a heart attack on Jan. 28.

Quamme said her mother and her soon-to-be mother-in-law reached out to Dells Bells asking for the full refund, which the dress shop and the tuxedo rental shop had provided, but were rejected. The chapel’s stated policy was to not provide refunds under any circumstance.

“The (chapel administrator) said their policy is that they can’t refund anything,” Quamme said. “She said we’re not going to refund it. We’ll put it on a gift card and (she) can use it within a year. I’m like, ‘I’m not going to use it in a year. I’m not getting married. He’s no longer with me.’ That made me more upset.”

After a month and a half of getting frustrated with the chapel, Quamme contacted Call For Action, the national nonprofit organization that helps solve consumer problems and operates out of the newsroom at WISC-TV3. Three phone calls later, including one that put Quamme on the line with the owner of the chapel, the deposit was refunded to Bahls’s mother.

“They just weren’t getting it,” she said. “I was frustrated and I was upset, so I called for action. I’m very thankful because if I didn’t, I’d probably still be fighting with them.”

A spokesperson for the chapel emailed a statement to News 3 that read: “Although Dells Bells Wedding Chapel is deeply embarrassed by our initial standard-policy response to a family member’s inquiry, we are grateful to News 3 for putting us in contact with Matthew’s fiancé, Rikki, who directed us to refund Matthew’s mother since she had indirectly provided the funds for their wedding. (That) also gave us a chance to express our sympathies directly to her and her family. We regret that we will never have the honor of meeting Matthew.”

Quamme said she knew that Matthew would want her to stand up for what’s right in this case and to fight to make sure no other bride or groom to be would be treated similarly in the future. She’s recommending Call For Action to anyone facing consumer problems in the future.

“If it can’t be fixed and you’re getting frustrated, the first thing I did was I saw your guys’ number on the news and I dialed it,” she said. “If it wasn’t for you guys, (my future mother-in-law) wouldn’t have got her money back,” Quamme said.