As soon as we get near wedding season the facebook groups all erupt with brides shouting “scammer”, suppliers shouting “timewaster” and a couple of self appointed “wedding group police” stepping in with the biggest load of old tosh ever.
Shall we keep it THIS SIMPLE!
Whatever you agreed to when you signed the contract, as long as it’s legal and fair, is what you need to do.
The Legal position is so open to interpretation that very few people abide by it, but...
Deposits and booking fees are generally not returnable as long as they are “Fair” AS DETERMINED BY THE EUROPEAN COURT.
For example, a “fair” deposit for a stationer will be the raw cost of the materials and the cost of securing the booking, this may be as high as 60% of the total price, but for a photographer, with no raw materials to pay for, should be 20% or less.
Staged Payments will generally be non-refundable, an example will be a cake maker who asks for £20 at the time of the booking, then 50% 2 months before with the balance due a month before. Venues like staged payments too, the closer it gets to the date, the less likely they are to fill it.
IF ANYONE EVER ASKS YOU FOR FULL PAYMENT AT THE TIME OF BOOKING, MORE THAN 6 MONTHS BEFORE THE DELIVERY DATE - WALK AWAY.
Recently we have seen a spate of falling out over payment methods.
Rule one is GET A RECEIPT!
Cash - Most people will still accept cash but now, some suppliers put an upper limit on it, the trouble is, it’s a risk, it’s actually hard to get rid of with fewer banks open in the high street and it “evaporates” as the wife and kids chip away at it.
Cheque - yes they still have them - Most people take them, they are a pain to process but unlike cash they do go into the right bank account
Bank Transfer (FPS and BACS) has benefits, it is cheap (free) to do but the recipient seldom gets a notification that you’ve paid and you need to ensure that you have ALL the details correct and you use the right reference. Like cash and cheque, you have no comeback if it goes wrong.
Credit card - strangely, for everyone concerned, this is the safest, it’s also the most expensive. When you pay by credit card, the lender is deemed to be jointly responsible for the purchase. This means if the supplier then fails to turn up and have entered bankruptcy, the credit card company is obliged to refund you, this is why it’s expensive and that cost is usually passed on to the customer, typically 2-3%
Paypal - Many suppliers will take a deposit by paypal, but not the larger balance and the reason why is simple, like a credit card, you have insurance as a buyer, unlike a credit card, the claimant really has to do very little to initiate that claim and paypal will freeze the account until its resolved. So imagine, a photographer was paid £500 by paypal, after the wedding the couple get the photographs but don’t like the album and decide to claim back £100. Paypal will freeze the £500 while they investigate, if they agree that the ALBUM was not up to standard, they will refund the full £500 to the couple and then the photographer has to sue them for the money, he’ll win, but suing them for £400 will cost £200 (the couple pay that) and his reputation.
Just because a supplier won’t take paypal is NO indication of how reliable they are
You know it’s really hard to find a wedding scammer unless you go looking for the cheapest of everything, Your wedding suppliers are just trying to make a living like the rest of us
Get a receipt with a name and address on it for EVERYTHING
READ the contract and if it’s too long and complicated - go elsewhere
The Cheapest is NEVER the best and the most expensive is seldom the best
And if, for example, a mediocre photographer, is telling you that a photographer you’ve booked “is a problem” ask yourself why they feel the need to do that.