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I met Maria Steele at a bridal show and hired her to help plan my wedding.  Everything started out great with Maria, she was available any time I needed her, she had amazing hookups in the business and got things for great prices, and then everything went wrong.  My first clue about this woman should have been the fact that I had to give my deposit for my venue to her so she could then give it to them.  I'm not talking about I gave her a check made out to the venue for her to drop it off.  NO I had to make it out to her and then she was supposed to pay the venue.  Big clue right? But I didn't think anything more than that until I got a call from the venue stating Maria's check bounced and she had written another which bounced and then she was suppose to come in the next day with cash and didn't.  I ALMOST LOST MY VENUE DUE TO MARIA STEELE.  Luckily the date and time slots for my wedding were still available by the time she did get it paid.  I spoke to her about this and she assured me this was a first and it was because she used our check for another event she was working on and then didn't get paid by that event in time so her checks bounced.  I thought it was really strange that she used MY MONEY on another event but having never had experience with this kind of thing I thought "maybe that's the way the smaller businesses do it, rob Peter to pay Paul type of thing."  After all of this Maria became VERY hard to get a hold of, she didn't answer her phone, return calls, answer text messages, nothing.  A week later she finally got back to me and said she had been in the hospital with some medical issues.  OK I can understand that stuff happens right?  Well then she asked for a personal loan to help her out bouncing back from being in the hospital. So being the caring person I am I convinced my fiancé (now husband) to agree and we had Maria sign a payment agreement.  The first payment was on time and for the right amount.  However I didn't know that would be the ONLY PAYMENT I would get back.  As the event grew closer finances got tighter and I asked Maria for additional help with the limo, linens, dj, and a few other things.  Because of that I suggested that we divide the remaining amount she owes us in two.  Half she would keep for the additional help and the remaining she would still owe us.  Got papers signed for that too and after the wedding Maria went MIA again.  I tried all avenues to get a hold of her, phone calls, text messages, and emails but she wouldn't answer my calls, open my emails (love return receipt for this purpose) but got nothing.  Tried calling her from a number she didn't know and sure enough she answered the phone and when she found out it was me she said "hey I need to go into this place to pay for something and they close in a few minutes.  Can I call you back in 2 or 3 mins?"  10 mins later she didn't call back so I called her again and she answered and then said she couldn't hear me, who is this, etc and hung up.  If I were you I would RUN THE OTHER WAY when it comes to working with Maria Steele for ANYTHING and NEVER lend her money.


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