Wedding Deposits

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by rachlynn17, Dec 9, 2009.

  1. rachlynn17

    rachlynn17 TPF Noob!

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    This is really more a venting moment for me, but I am interested in hearing comments.
    Today I received a legal/certified letter in the mail from a Bride/client that I have. (Wedding date August 2011)
    The situation that this letter stems from: I singed a contract with this bride at bridal show, and took a $250 deposit. I told her that I would get the contract copied and send her a copy in the mail.

    So this letter is two pages filled with all of the contact that this girl claims that she made to me about receiving her copy of the contract. The letter ends with her saying that she wants the deposit refunded.

    A week later (from signing the contract), I had received one voicemail and one email from her (sent one day from each other). I replied to the email and told her that I would get it sent out. So one week later, I get a call from her the morning after Thanksgiving. I told her that I would be back home and get it in the mail the first week of December.
    So, she has this letter claiming that she emailed me 4 different times, and has left several voice messages for me asking for her contract. She didn't receive it by Friday, December 4th, so she will take legal action if I don't refund her deposit. (I did have it in the mail that Friday.)
    Yes, it was my error in not getting the stupid thing copied and sent to her. But I've have honestly been working my butt off designing and putting together 7 wedding albums in those past 3 weeks, so people could have them by Thanksgiving. I work part time from home, and if I had a regular job, I'd still be on maternity leave.
    So, what do you do now? The contract that she read and signed says that that deposits will not be returned under any circumstances. (I do refund them for military reasons or deaths.)
    I'm planning on giving the thing her money back just so I can cancel the contract and not have work with her. I will be very thankful that I will not have to work with this creature on her wedding day.
     
  2. yvangkwheng

    yvangkwheng TPF Noob!

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    well, no biggie. just give back her money and keep eth on the normal track.
     
  3. Johnboy2978

    Johnboy2978 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    $250 is money well spent to be rid of her. She probably found out that Uncle Joe was getting a sweet point & shoot for Christmas and would be able to shoot it for free.

    Even though I would not shoot the wedding under any circumstances at this point, if I had a signed contract that said no refunds, I may let her proceed with trying to take me to court over it just out of principle. I didn't sleep well last night though, so I'm a little cranky right now :(
     
  4. Christos_2006

    Christos_2006 TPF Noob!

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    First off it should be a retainer and not a deposit. And if i encountered the same circumstances as you i would even give the retainer back.
    Have her come and meet you, after all she must sign a cancellation agreement (you do have one right) and then hand her the check for the $250.00 no biggie.

    Long Island wedding photographer
     
  5. Double H

    Double H TPF Noob!

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    I had a similar situation happen this year to me, the ONLY time it has happened. I signed a contract last February, 2009, for a wedding on December 22, 2009. When spring rolled around, I made numerous attempts at trying to get the couple together for their engagment session. The bride kept shrugging it off, saying she didn't need anything special. Regardless, it's what I offer and it will be special, darn it. About mid-July, I get a long email from the bride asking for her deposit back, and that she was very disappointed with our lack of contact. Sounded like she found a better deal, or something, whatever, she also signed a contract with me. I stuck to my guns, each time answering her email right away and stating part two of my contract which states NO REFUND on deposits, especially when they flake-out. She even resorted to trying to make me feel bad about her father not being wealthy, and the best one was when she threatened me saying she would be sending her daddy over to collect the deposit. I called her out on it, and stuck to my guns. She quickly apologized and said she wished she would have just left things the way they were. I turned down two other, higher-paying weddings for her date, and all I got out of it was a lousy $350.
    Stand your ground, be firm. 2011? I can only imagine what the next two years would be like dealing with your bridezilla.
     
  6. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I agree with everyone else. Returning the deposit will be a small price to pay to get yourself out of this deal. Yikes. If she's this uptight about getting a contract in the mail (a year and a half a head of the date)...then I wonder if the fiancé will still be around in Aug of 2011 :roll:

    Still, let this be a lesson for you as well. How long does it really take to copy and mail out a contract? Just make it your routine that you always do this ASAP.
     
  7. Double H

    Double H TPF Noob!

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    I make mine available as a PDF, and just email it to them. They print it out, sign it, and send it back to me with a check. Saves me a ton of time.
     
  8. Christie Photo

    Christie Photo No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I did sleep, and I agree... there is a principle here.

    My "go to" answer for this is, "IF I can re-book the date with another couple, I will return your deposit." It sounds reasonable, and puts it all into perspective.

    -Pete
     
  9. IgsEMT

    IgsEMT No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Get rid of her asap. image what would happen if she'd hire you and you shot the job - what a pain in the @$$ that would be.
     
  10. keith foster

    keith foster TPF Noob!

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    I agree with everyone else here, refund and be done. In the future why not just fill out 2 copies of the contract at the show, you both sign them and each takes one. In the old days we did this with carbon copies. (remember to press hard when writing)
     
  11. Mike_E

    Mike_E No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    If it's listed as a deposit in your contract, take the $250, send it back to her and then go first thing in the morning to Your lawyer and get your contract in order.

    If it's retainer you could do as Pete advised but I think that I would send a cashier's check to the lawyer- he really needs to get his cut don't you think?- and be done with her.



    fwiw I carry several and we sign two at the same time.
     
  12. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    "The situation that this letter stems from: I singed a contract with this bride at bridal show, and took a $250 deposit. I told her that I would get the contract copied and send her a copy in the mail."

    This is not a good business practice. The client should get a copy when they sign.

    Like Christos_2006 said, make sure she signs a Cancellation Agreement and hopefully your contract actually calls call it a retainer, not a deposit.

    Actually, I'm very surprised the attorney who wrote or reviewed your contract didn't address the retainer/deposit issue at the time.

    In the case of the bride not having a copy of the contract, I too would have returned a retainer.
     

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