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DJ Wes

DJ Extraordinaire
Apr 23, 2008
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www.mobiledjwes.com
Got a situation. Back in October of last year, I was booked for a wedding on Apr 25th. They paid for everything in full the day they hired me. Due to Covid, I agreed to move it to Nov 7th. I have done this for quite a few others this year as I'm sure everyone has. Well, I reached out to the wedding planner who actually arranged my booking to schedule a planning session. She informed me that the wedding has been cancelled. She then wanted to know if I could give them their money back, or at least a partial refund. My contract clearly states in bold text that any cancellations inside of 90 days before the date, is due in full. I don't really want to burn any bridges with a wedding planner who helped the bride pick me to do this wedding, but I don't feel it's right to have to come up with $1000+ a year after it was paid and one month before the wedding. For the record, I've never worked with this planner before. What would you do?
 
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djrox

Sir Wyzazz
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Aug 12, 2006
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What would you do?
Honor my contract thereby reinforcing my value and protecting my business.

I might generously and compassionately, but completely and separately outside of the established contract, offer to apply some amount to a limited reschedule.

I would request that the client officially cancel, in compliance with the established contract, in order to avail themselves of my generous offer.

Good luck.
 
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djtaso

DJ Extraordinaire
Apr 4, 2017
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Get it in writing from couple (this is why I never ever do anything through a planner... always couples, regardless of their insistence). Decline the refund of deposit, but say you’ll be accommodating to the situation by not enforcing that the remainder of the balance is due as per the contract they signed.
 

DJ Wes

DJ Extraordinaire
Apr 23, 2008
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My contract and payment was from the actual bride, not the planner. The bride asked me to coordinate everything with the planner. So I have no contact info for the bride herself. The date was moved once already. Now she is pregnant and doesn't want to have a 'wedding' at all. It's officially cancelled. They probably just married at the courthouse by a JP is my guess.
 

djrox

Sir Wyzazz
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Aug 12, 2006
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...but say you’ll be accommodating to the situation by not enforcing that the remainder of the balance is due as per the contract they signed.
Such one sided accomodation can be detrimental to a business' health...Suum cuique.
 
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djcrazychris

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Jun 12, 2018
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I think the sad part here is that you had to contact them to find out the wedding was canceled... thats a shame that people would just ignore the vendors theyd hired. Maybe they were just resigned to the fact that they werent getting any money back as per your contract and figured any courtesy owed you and your company wasnt needed... if thats the case, maybe this planner is trying to be the hero and garner some cash back for them... who knows.

I can only say that if the bride and groom had reached out to me i would have probably caved a bit... but given their disregard for letting you know and i guess assuming you would simply show up to an empty venue... i think they made the choice to pay you in full...

cc
 

DJ Wes

DJ Extraordinaire
Apr 23, 2008
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Memphis / Mid-South Area
www.mobiledjwes.com
My answer would be "No". My question to you, why would you be worried about alienating the planner if you've never worked with them before?
There is always the future. I don't like having a 'bad name' amongst the tight-knit wedding community here.
 

rickryan.com

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Dec 9, 2009
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There is always the future. I don't like having a 'bad name' amongst the tight-knit wedding community here.
I don't think that caving on your contract will give you respect from the planner. Just the opposite. Good luck with it.
 
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steve149

Shine on you crazy diamond
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Sep 26, 2011
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I guess I'm of a different mind (no need for sarcastic comments).

I know we like to think we have airtight contracts that we have to enforce, but how many would actually stand up in court? Holding a date .. yea, probably some $$s associated with that. Work done to date .. absolutely. But if a client took you to court on the fact you haven't delivered on the majority of the actionable components, how would it hold up? Especially this year. You can always try I guess, but I think most would lose. YMMV

Personally, I would keep whatever the deposit/retainer/pre-payment would have been to hold the date (let's call that 25%). If I did work, I might keep a pro-rated amount (call that also 25%) and the 50% left would be under consideration. Given the issues this year, and the potential business dynamics involved, I might offer 2 solutions .. the 50% returned (call it a Pandemic refund) or maybe 100% applied to a future date.
 

Chuck The DJ

I know people.
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Sep 28, 2006
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If you are concerned about how you will look to the community, reach out to the other vendors and see what they did. Call or e-mail the venue, photog, caterer and say something like.....

Hi XYZ as you know by now the wedding of Betty & Bob has been canceled and this is a first for me and I was wondering how you have dealt with the situation of deposits or payments paid in full. Did you refund Betty & Bob their money like the planner is asking me to do? I would truly appreciate your help here as my contract does state that payments are non-refundable.............. or something like that.
 

Albatross

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Sep 7, 2016
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First of all... I would try to get the planner on the phone. It's really difficult to tell tone from an e-mail. She might be asking for the couple just as a standard operating procedure to see if they can get any money back. It's hard to tell the nature of her request if it's purely in writing.

Second, I would explain where you have stood on it. That essentially they would have forfeited all of their money in April, but as a courtesy you were trying to be as flexible as possible with them to help them out.

I think the planner is likely to be on board with you at this point and will understand your position.

What you do after that... is sort of your call. You could outright decline, and just say it's not possible to give them any money back. You could also choose to provide credit toward a future event. Maybe 50% off a booking of any kind in the next 12 months... so if they have a birthday party or corporate event need you are willing to put effort toward that.

Honestly, I think it's unlikely they take you up on it, but I think it give the appearance of trying to work out a fair solution. And if they do take you up on it... who knows, maybe you end up with a new corporate gig moving forward.

I think being able to offer ANYTHING will give the impression that you're someone she can work with. And you can flat out tell the planner that you want to make sure that you can have a good working relationship with her moving forward.

Again, for me, the key would be to do this on the phone. I put a lot more faith in my ability to read tone and intent when I can hear someones voice.
 

djtaso

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Apr 4, 2017
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Such one sided accomodation can be detrimental to a business' health...Suum cuique.
Just depends on how insisting they are on getting their money back. And as Ross said, tone plays a big role. I also allow clients to use deposit towards a future event.

If requesting the balance in times of cancellation is detrimental to a business, then why do we have the clauses. And at what point do we no longer allow COVID to be an excuse for cancelations. Someone booking a party now, does know the risks. This couple that rescheduled, rescheduled knowing the virus can still exist. It’s rare that I would ever even think of asking for the remaining balance for a cancellation, but I wouldn’t hesitate to mention that technically 50% of the balance is owed if they try to ask for the retainer.
 

steve149

Shine on you crazy diamond
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Sep 26, 2011
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Just depends on how insisting they are on getting their money back. And as Ross said, tone plays a big role. I also allow clients to use deposit towards a future event.

If requesting the balance in times of cancellation is detrimental to a business, then why do we have the clauses. And at what point do we no longer allow COVID to be an excuse for cancelations. Someone booking a party now, does know the risks. This couple that rescheduled, rescheduled knowing the virus can still exist. It’s rare that I would ever even think of asking for the remaining balance for a cancellation, but I wouldn’t hesitate to mention that technically 50% of the balance is owed if they try to ask for the retainer.
I think the issue for Wes is he already received the "balance" as it was paid in full from day 1.
 
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djtaso

DJ Extraordinaire
Apr 4, 2017
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I think the issue for Wes is he already received the "balance" as it was paid in full from day 1.
I completely missed that. Never been in that position as I don’t take anything more than retainer. But on a technicality... my contract constitutes the $300 retainer as non refundable. Anything more is an additional payment, not subject to the requirements of the retainer. Technically in my case I’d be giving everything minus the retainer back.
 
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djrox

Sir Wyzazz
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Aug 12, 2006
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I think the issue for Wes is he already received the "balance" as it was paid in full from day 1.
..and he has in no uncertain terms said that his "contract clearly states in bold text that any cancellations inside of 90 days before the date, is due in full."

The event was re-scheduled to November 7, we are now in the 90 days where payment in full is due... where's the confusion?
 
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steve149

Shine on you crazy diamond
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Sep 26, 2011
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..and he has in no uncertain terms said that his "contract clearly states in bold text that any cancellations inside of 90 days before the date, is due in full."

The event was re-scheduled to November 7, we are now in the 90 days where payment in full is due... where's the confusion?
I don't disagree .. other than what a contract "says" and what can be "enforced" are sometimes 2 different things.
 

DJ Wes

DJ Extraordinaire
Apr 23, 2008
3,530
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56
Memphis / Mid-South Area
www.mobiledjwes.com
Okay guys. Here's what I did. I offered to use the payment toward any non-Saturday event within the next 12 months - if not already booked. That's the best I can do and she said multiple times that she understands my position. I feel we are still on good terms. I just hate the whole situation. 2020 can kiss my ass. :)
 

MIXMASTERMACHOM

DJ Extraordinaire
Oct 16, 2011
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He said at the outset that they paid in full at the time the contract was signed. The issue I find disturbing is he has no contact info from the bride. Why should you not keep the money if they cancelled? Especially since he doesn't know the reason why the wedding is cancelled. He also said he's guessing they went to the court house and got married. Until he gets more info I say he shoud keep the money. I like the thing about letting the couple use pick another date to have some kind of event. Even giving a partial refund to me makes no sense. At least not until he gets further details.