C&C Catering Equipment is cursing its luck after falling victim to a corporate event scam.
The catering equipment distributor paid £1,500 for a table at a Christmas lunch event with ex-Manchester United and Liverpool stars Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher as the special guests.
Viewing it as a good networking opportunity, particularly given Neville’s involvement in the restaurant and hotel sector, C&C booked a table for 10, which promised a three-course lunch and VIP drinks reception with the ex-footballers seated on their table.
C&C paid sum through bank transfer to the organisers ‘JC Events’ and began correspondence with a ‘Julie Coleman’, who the company had worked with before.
However, C&C boss Peter Kitchin happened to mention the event to a friend who organises sportsman’s dinners last week and after some enquiries it was discovered that Chester Racecourse — where the dinner was supposedly being held on December 3 — had no record of the booking.
C&C’s fears were confounded at the weekend when Carragher himself took to social media to confirm the event had nothing to do with him, tweeting: “This has never been arranged or organised.”
“We have bought a number of these kind of lunches before, including at the racecourse, and have never had an issue with any of them, so I didn’t think we would this time either — and nothing about it sounded suspicious whatsoever,” Peter Kitchin told The Chronicle.
The paper reported that C&C was unable to contact the company until yesterday when Kitchin received an email from Julie Coleman saying she had ‘just returned from holiday to this mess’, and describing the situation as a ‘malicious joke’.
Mr Kitchin said. “It’s not a huge amount of money we’ve lost in the grand scheme of things but that isn’t the point. I don’t think we are naive. I think it’s going to put us off booking things in future. We were so looking forward to this.”
The paper added that Chester Racecourse posted a statement on their Facebook page earlier this week, confirming the event did not exist, while a spokesperson for Trading Standards at Cheshire West and Chester Council said any other company that may have been similarly affected should contact the Citizens Advice Bureau.