A Colorado man whose fiancée died in a car crash is now locked in a nasty battle with their would-be wedding videographers after the company denied him a refund and set up websites to mock and threaten him with legal action for going public with the story.
The sites ridiculed the groom for giving the company a one-star review after it refused to return his non-refundable deposit. The company, Copper Stallion Media, also reportedly marked the couple’s cancelled wedding day with a mocking post that said: “We hope you sob and cry all day for what would have been your wedding day.”
Groom Justin Montney’s woes started in February when his bride-to-be, Alexis Wyatt, was killed in a car crash just a few months before their scheduled wedding in May.
Montney went about the process of cancelling all of their arrangements, but his scheduled videographers, Copper Stallion Media, refused to refund his US$1,800, he told KRDO-TV in Denver. Montney reached out to the company about two weeks after his fiancée’s death, according to both parties.
“They said they’d extend my service to my next wedding, which was a very insensitive thing to tell me,” Montney told KRDO-TV.
He added that he knew the contract included a “no refunds” clause, but he thought they should make an exception given his tragic circumstances.
“They should have been able to do (it) because they didn’t render any services,” he said.
After months of arguing over email, Montney turned to The Knot, a popular website for wedding services and left a one-star review for Copper Stallion Media. Several of his friends joined in to give the company bad reviews, and Montney also went to KRDO-TV to share his complaints in a story published on May 21.
He says the company threatened to sue him for going public with the dispute.
Copper Stallion Media responded by launching two websites, JustinMontney.com and JustinMontneyWedding.com, to tell its side of the story last week. Archived versions of the main Copper Stallion Media site show it directed people to those pages.
The sites claimed that Montney was waging a “smear campaign” against Copper Stallion Media because he didn’t want to abide by the non-refundable element of their contract. It also threatened to sue Montney for showing “malice and intent to harm the reputation” of the company.
“In the news story he admits that the contract was non-refundable but says we should give the money back due to circumstance,” the sites say, citing the KRDO-TV report.
“Life is a b—h, Justin.”
The company also presented an email that allegedly shows Montney asking to use the credit at a later date if he cannot get a refund.
“I would like to push my reservation for 10 years from now in case I ever get married,” he appeared to say in the email. “That or I could have a refund and I can even send you a picture of the death certificate. I would either like to still receive the services I am forced to pay for with the death of a party on the contract, OR a refund.”
The videography site says it received over 75 one-star reviews on The Knot after Montney went public with his story, and it has since shut down its entry on the review site. The company also appears to have been removed from WeddingWire, another popular site for wedding-planning services.
“It is not right for people to turn to the internet and sodomize the reputation of a company,” Copper Stallion Media wrote. The company added that non-refundable deposits are the “industry standard” because each weekend date is precious during wedding season.
Copper Stallion Media says it purchased the two domain names for the next two years in order to document and build its case against Montney. It’s unclear how much the sites cost or when they were launched, but the first versions saved in Google’s archives date back to May 23, the scheduled date of the wedding.
The sites featuring Montney’s name appear to have been changed since the original claims were posted. Both sites now show a black background and a single YouTube video featuring the song Disllusioned by A Perfect Circle. Copper Stallion Media’s allegations have been removed, but the old pages still appear in cached versions of the sites.
Copper Stallion Media’s Instagram and Facebook pages appear to have been disabled. Its website is still active.
Global News has reached out to Copper Stallion Media about the changes. The company did not respond by press time.
Montney and Copper Stallion Media have not responded to other outlets’ questions since the dispute was first reported. A statement posted on its main website last week claimed that it was preparing to “sunset” the company once it has completed all of its current bookings. That statement no longer appears on the main site.
A GoFundMe page to raise money for Wyatt’s family has received more than US$14,000 in donations to date. The page was created following her death in early February, although it’s seen a surge in activity and donations since the wedding videographer dispute became public.
“I saw everything that happened in a Facebook group I’m in and wanted to support,” one donor wrote.
Another contributor said: “I’m so sorry for your loss and the BS you are dealing with from your wedding photographer.”