Wedding for 9/18/21 cancelled. FOB wants a refund. Yes or No, or Partial refund?

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DJ Ricky B

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Mar 9, 2015
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My client, the bride for 9/18/21 cancelled via Email about 12 days ago. I replied to confirm that she was indeed cancelling, or if there is a chance she could post pone to another date. She said it is cancelled - "The Wedding was called off"

So, it is not due to death, or the Pandemic. The wedding was just called off.

I have not spoke to the bride or heard from her since. The mother paid the deposit via credit card on PayPal about 5 months ago.

The Father left me a voice mail earlier tonight. He wants to talk with me about getting their deposit refunded.

My agreement is clear about the $350 deposit being non refundable, and explains that it can be transferred to an agreeable open date any time up to 120 days after the original date or before the original date.

The date is pretty far out...still over 13 months out. However, with the way this pandemic is going, I may not re book it. Saturday in September of next year.

Should I stick to the agreement they agreed to and tell FOB their only option is to transfer to a new date, or throw a party on the same date to keep me working, or wait to see if I can re book the date with another client before I am able to issue a refund?

OR Should I just refund it because they asked? Or should I refund part of it, and charge them a "cancellation/date restocking" fee.



So far, in the past 2 months I have issued 2 refunds. Both were Pandemic cancellations due to the shut downs, and uncertainty of being able to have their events at all. This is different in the sense that it is 13 months away. Things could be fully re opened by then, so the Pandemic/Shut Down/restrictions are not at play with this one. At least not at the moment.

In terms of working with the bride. Only a meeting at a bridal show, a phone call, and an agreement was signed. No time spent on meetings or working on pre prep for their event since it was so far out.
 

Jeff Romard

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Always do what your contract tells you. If you don't why bother having a contract? As with most things there are always extenuating circumstances but "called off" isn't one of those
 

Albatross

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The only deposit I even considered refunding was for a personal friend. But given the discussion going on in the other thread about where your business cash is... I don't think I'd refund it.

You might consider just saying something like "As my contract states, the deposit is non-refundable. Quite frankly with how much of our work has been canceled this year, it would be difficult to refund it even if I wanted to. I'm still happy to honor my rebooking policy if there is another event that I can be of assistance."
 

steve149

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I said it in a previous post .. if the cancellation was due to legal requirements and rescheduling was not possible, then I'd refund. If rescheduling IS possible but the client just doesn't want to, then stick with the contract.
 

MIXMASTERMACHOM

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Oct 16, 2011
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This is a no brainer. There's no dire emergency like someone died or other tragedy. You deserve to keep the retainer. Did you do work to get things together for this wedding? Anyway them asking for a refund is not your problem that the wedding is canceled.

I could be wrong but this sounds like they just want the retainer back that they paid you because they found it cheaper alternative.
 

DJ Ricky B

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This is a no brainer. There's no dire emergency like someone died or other tragedy. You deserve to keep the retainer. Did you do work to get things together for this wedding? Anyway them asking for a refund is not your problem that the wedding is canceled.

I could be wrong but this sounds like they just want the retainer back that they paid you because they found it cheaper alternative.
NO "WORK" has been done on this one except providing an agreement, and collecting payment. Maybe a 30 minute phone call if I remember correctly.

It is 14 months away. I have held the date for basically 6 months at this point.
 

Proformance

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Nov 6, 2006
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Because the deposit was placed with a credit card it's not likely to matter what your contract says. You're merchant agreement will determine whether a chargeback can be made should the buyer request one.

You're in a an odd position because your contract is with the bride and the person seeking a refund may not be a party (signatory) to that agreement. It may be possible to initiate a charge back - to which your only recourse is to pursue the bride for the balance of those lost funds.

If you've already concluded the cancellation with the bride (customer) there's no reason to return calls to the father. Let him get his money back from the bride - and then if she thinks she's entitled to a refund speak to her instead. :)
 

MIXMASTERMACHOM

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I did just put a like to Bob's post. Yet the bride made the agreement with you to do her wedding and now she's backing out. This is not like something that was unauthorized and a person needs to get their money back. She made the agreement and I would hold her to it. I know the human side of you is saying just refund the money. This was a business transaction and it's about conducting this as a business situation. Some times I know the human side may want to come out but sometimes you got to play hardball.
 

Jeff Romard

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NO "WORK" has been done on this one except providing an agreement, and collecting payment. Maybe a 30 minute phone call if I remember correctly.

It is 14 months away. I have held the date for basically 6 months at this point.
You seem like you want to give the money back. If you do just do it but at some time it may come back to bite you if you ever have to defend it
 

rickryan.com

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No offense intended but you seem to be talking out both sides of your mouth. On one hand, your always posting about how bad business is and now you're wanting to give money back when likely (depending on your contract and refund policy) you have the rights to keep the deposit. Personally, my policy is clear that the deposit is forfeited and especially in a case with the big bad daddy is trying to lean on me. If they're nice when asking I'm much more likely to bend but I don't like strong-arm tactics.
 

dunlopj

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You're in a an odd position because your contract is with the bride and the person seeking a refund may not be a party (signatory) to that agreement. It may be possible to initiate a charge back - to which your only recourse is to pursue the bride for the balance of those lost funds.
Oooohhh...good point!
 

DJ Ricky B

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Talked with the FOB.

I told him the deposit was non refundable, but I do have options for them. I outlined their options:

A. Throw a party. Utilize my services on any open date. Deposit transfers to the new event. They can choose any open date up until 90 days after the original date.
B. Wait until I re book the date with another client. I gave him my word that I would then refund the deposit after a new client has booked. I also told him there is no guarantee of another client booking that date, but that typically Saturdays in September are in demand, so there is a good chance this would happen.

C. If they knew anyone getting married, they could utilize the deposit they paid as a GIFT to them. Have them contact me, and I would use theeir deposit as a credit towards that particular event.

Overall, he was cool with it, and he thanked me for trying to help them with options.

He didn't push or try strong arming me into returning their deposit during the conversation. He said they will wait it out, and see if I re book the date, but Option A is certainly a possibility at some point next year.
 
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DJ Ricky B

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No offense intended but you seem to be talking out both sides of your mouth. On one hand, your always posting about how bad business is and now you're wanting to give money back when likely (depending on your contract and refund policy) you have the rights to keep the deposit. Personally, my policy is clear that the deposit is forfeited and especially in a case with the big bad daddy is trying to lean on me. If they're nice when asking I'm much more likely to bend but I don't like strong-arm tactics.
TO be honest, if I had a full schedule, this pandemic was not happening, and My business account was very healthy, I probably would have just refunded their deposit - the CC fees I incurred, and told them to please contact me in the future when they need a Wedding DJ again. Part of me does feel bad about holding a deposit when they cancelled 14 months prior to their wedding date even though it was no fault of mine. If this was 2013, or 2015 market conditions...I know I could easily re book the date. However, circumstances are quite different this year with everything going on, and I'm in a position of trying to keep my head above water for the foreseable future. Business Decisions are being made from a total defensive stand point for probably the next 10 - 12 months, and possibly longer.
 

awdj

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Officially we don't refund under these circumstances, but in the past I had one like this that was way out there, so I told them officially no, but if we book that day, we'd refund the deposit. I made it clear that if we didn't end up booking the day, though, we'd follow our contract.

It didn't take long and it was re-booked, and they were happy to get their deposit back. Takes some trust, but kept everyone happy, and made us look like nice people. I would do it again given the right circumstances.
 

TJS

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So I'll grab hold of the coat tails of this post instead of starting another since the question I'd like to pose is related . I had a Nov wedding cancel last night. They were supposed to be in April of this year. Had met with them several time. Everything planned out. Venue was visited etc. Pandemic hits and they decided to get married at home and throw a party in Nov. After thinking it over, they decided to mess with the hassles of a November "everyone wear a hazmat suit on the dance floor" kind of reception. They knew not to ask for any refund and were extremely thankful for the work done thus far. Now for the question...

They left it that they aren't going to officially reschedule anything. They might do an anniversary party but just not setting anything in stone. They said they would definitely reach back out if/when a backup party is decided on. My contract doesn't address how long a first payment is good for (may be a good opportunity for revision) so this is a bit of a one-off (heck the whole year has been one big "one-off" haa). The question is, how long would you suggest making that first payment deposit good for? One year? One year seems reasonable but from what date? Do you not transfer this first payment to a future event at all since November was open, they did book it. This is simply a cancellation.
 

steve149

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So I'll grab hold of the coat tails of this post instead of starting another since the question I'd like to pose is related . I had a Nov wedding cancel last night. They were supposed to be in April of this year. Had met with them several time. Everything planned out. Venue was visited etc. Pandemic hits and they decided to get married at home and throw a party in Nov. After thinking it over, they decided to mess with the hassles of a November "everyone wear a hazmat suit on the dance floor" kind of reception. They knew not to ask for any refund and were extremely thankful for the work done thus far. Now for the question...

They left it that they aren't going to officially reschedule anything. They might do an anniversary party but just not setting anything in stone. They said they would definitely reach back out if/when a backup party is decided on. My contract doesn't address how long a first payment is good for (may be a good opportunity for revision) so this is a bit of a one-off (heck the whole year has been one big "one-off" haa). The question is, how long would you suggest making that first payment deposit good for? One year? One year seems reasonable but from what date? Do you not transfer this first payment to a future event at all since November was open, they did book it. This is simply a cancellation.
I would think 1 year would be reasonable, though if you consider it payment for work completed, then it's up to you.
 
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rickryan.com

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So I'll grab hold of the coat tails of this post instead of starting another since the question I'd like to pose is related . I had a Nov wedding cancel last night. They were supposed to be in April of this year. Had met with them several time. Everything planned out. Venue was visited etc. Pandemic hits and they decided to get married at home and throw a party in Nov. After thinking it over, they decided to mess with the hassles of a November "everyone wear a hazmat suit on the dance floor" kind of reception. They knew not to ask for any refund and were extremely thankful for the work done thus far. Now for the question...

They left it that they aren't going to officially reschedule anything. They might do an anniversary party but just not setting anything in stone. They said they would definitely reach back out if/when a backup party is decided on. My contract doesn't address how long a first payment is good for (may be a good opportunity for revision) so this is a bit of a one-off (heck the whole year has been one big "one-off" haa). The question is, how long would you suggest making that first payment deposit good for? One year? One year seems reasonable but from what date? Do you not transfer this first payment to a future event at all since November was open, they did book it. This is simply a cancellation.
I think you just leave it alone and don't say anything. For certain, don't try to now define something, in writing. If/when they call back, use your own judgement. If you can fulfill the gig then do it. If you can't then "I'm sorry but I'm not available" works.
 
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