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Old May 5th, 2010, 06:28 PM   #16
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If contract states, deposits are non refundable, they are non refundable. Unless it's a death in family which she should prove, my guess is that the reason is simply she found someone with a better price. Otherwise 3 days are too short for something to happen unless a death.

Plus if you do it for this person, you will get one more person in few months doing exact same thing. Don't be scared to turn her down. There is nothing she can do other than say few things.

Hope this helps
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Old May 7th, 2010, 04:21 PM   #17
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is

$200 worth the amount of bad press it is going to buy you? that amount is so negligible I'd
give it back. a couple years back, i had a bride who booked me for photo. Fiance up and split
town! her deposit was $800. Her mom hounded me for it back, I said no, because I actually
did turn down 2 other brides for her date. the girl got married, she hired another photog.
I just wonder if all the other vendors gave her back her deposits? find out why your bride is cancelling,
but for $200, return it.
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Old May 7th, 2010, 10:05 PM   #18
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I'm with Travis. She signed a contract and agreed to the terms. She understands that the deposit is non-refundable.

And now people tell you to refund the $ so you can be the nice guy? What's it gonna hurt?

Is it worth the 'bad mouthing' that you follow thru on the agreed terms?

What it would hurt is YOUR POLICY. Either the terms of the contract mean something or they don't.

Are you really trying to sell brides on the terms of the contract?

You: 'And although the deposit is non-refundable, if you change your mind in a couple days I'll refund it anyways!'
Bride: 'Great! I'll sign with you!'

That's like saying although they book you for 5 hours... what's it gonna hurt to stay an extra hour or two at no charge?

Quote:
What you will get is her not telling her friends of about how she lost money booking with you.
I disagree. She didn't lose money. She booked someone's services... paid a deposit and then chose to cancel. That's not losing money. That's declining a service after paying for it and that's part of doing business.
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Old May 7th, 2010, 11:00 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Blake Cavett View Post
I'm with Travis. She signed a contract and agreed to the terms. She understands that the deposit is non-refundable...

You: 'And although the deposit is non-refundable, if you change your mind in a couple days I'll refund it anyways!'
Bride: 'Great! I'll sign with you!'
What if there are extenuating circumstances? I agree, if she just changed her mind, then she should be SOL. But perhaps something bad happened... like the groom ran off with a waitress from the Emerald Queen Casino (the OP will get the reference) or died or something. I would get the reason and go from there. If you haven't lost any bookings over this and there truly was some sort of extenuating circumstances like death or the groom suddenly dumped her, that act of kindness in returning your (way too small) deposit might pay off farther down the road. But don't do it just to avoid a bad reputation. Do it to get a good reputation.

Of course, if she just decided to get another videographer then too bad, she shouldn't have signed the contract in the first place.
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Old May 8th, 2010, 11:15 AM   #20
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Let's switch it the other way.

What if you as the videographer had to or chose to cancel after only 3 days? Do you still get to keep her money because your contract says deposits are non-refundable? Do you have to pay her the cost difference between what you charged and what her new videographer charges?

The right thing to do is return her money and not make her give you an acceptable answer for cancelling.

Forcing her to forfeit her deposit or forcing her to use your services could end up being the most costly $200 you ever made. She could very well turn on you and make it difficult to do your job, like pestering you with petty demands, not cooperating with your need for their assistance in getting shots or recording good audio. Then after you deliver what she deems to be inferior results, she can take you to small claims court and sue you for damages. Even if she loses, she'll ruin your day.

You haven't lost anything yet. Give her back the money and move on. It's $200. That's chump change.

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Old May 8th, 2010, 11:33 AM   #21
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What if you as the videographer had to or chose to cancel after only 3 days? Do you still get to keep her money because your contract says deposits are non-refundable?
No. That would be breach of contract & even after returning her $200 she still might be able to sue you for it. Doubt she'd go thru that hassle but I'm sure your rep could suffer (Angieslist, referrals etc)

I agree with you that she could become a total bridezilla though & complain constantly just to hassle you for what you did. It's really a judgement call on the OP's part either way. Not sure you're reputation will suffer much either way, I guess it depends on the odds you think she'll say either of the following to friends "I almost used Jun Galinato but didn't. But don't use him cause he didn't return my $200" or "I found someone for cheap/free on Craigslist but they were bad & it sucked. However, I almost used Jun Galinato but didn't. I wish I did, he was cool enough to return my $200 deposit so myb you should try him for yours".
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Old May 8th, 2010, 12:43 PM   #22
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Dave,
Without seeing the contract, it is impossible to say what would constitute breach of contract. If the contract stated there will be no refunds under any circumstances and the customer signs it, wouldn't they be agreeing to those terms?

I doubt it would stand up in court because it seems like an unreasonable condition. The OP is seeking opinions from people who have nothing to gain or lose by taking one position or another. I gave mine.

Should the bride have ever entered into the contract? No. She sounds a bit on the flaky side to me, which sounds to me like even more reason to give back the deposit and wash your hands of what could very well become one headache after another.

Jeff
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Old May 8th, 2010, 05:37 PM   #23
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Without seeing the contract, it is impossible to say what would constitute breach of contract. If the contract stated there will be no refunds under any circumstances and the customer signs it, wouldn't they be agreeing to those terms?
You can't write a contract saying "If I have to cancel I still keep your deposit". That'd be like renting an apartment and asking for the first & last months security deposit, then saying 'Oh, I chose to rent it to my nephew" but trying to keep the deposit.

"No refunds" applies to the customer canceling, not the merchant.
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Old May 8th, 2010, 05:55 PM   #24
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Thank you all. I am still waiting for the customer for her response. Here's a partial copy of the contract:

The Date-Reservation Fee is due with submission of a signed copy of this Agreement.
100% of The Balance is due one month before the event. Please make check payable to xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx.

Terms and Conditions:
1. Date-Reservation Fee: Upon signature and submission of the Date-Reservation Fee, PHV will reserve the time and date agreed upon, and will not make other reservations for this time and date. This fee is non-refundable but transferable.

4. It is understood that even if a shot is taken, PHV at its sole discretion may decide not to use the shot in the finished product for aesthetic or other editorial reasons. (Videotaping and photographing outdoors in inclement weather is at the sole discretion of PHV.)

5. PHV will take the utmost care to produce a video and photo of good quality. However, PHV will not be responsible for circumstances beyond its control, including but not limited to power failure, equipment failure or malfunction, and defective tape stock and memory storage. If videotaping/photographing of the entire event is prevented due to such occurrences, there will be no charge and all advance amounts paid will be refunded.

6. PHV is under no obligation to retain copies of the videotape/photograph, in either raw or edited versions. However, as a courtesy, PHV will attempt to retain a master of the final version for one year.

7. PHV reserves the right to use portions of the videotape/photograph for promotional or other reasons. PHV retains all copyrights and reproduction rights for each production, raw footage, original videotapes, photographs, edited masters and all sub-masters of each production, whether in whole or in part.

8. Under any and all circumstances, PHV’s maximum liability is limited to a full refund.

9. The videotape is for the private home use of the Client. Any public showing of any part of the videotape is at the sole responsibility and risk of the Client.

10. PHV is not obligated to perform agreed-upon services if the Client fails to meet the financial terms of this agreement

11. This agreement as written represents the entire agreement between PHV and the client. All changes must be in writing and accepted by both parties to be binding.
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Old May 9th, 2010, 11:32 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by Jun Galinato View Post
Hi, I have a customer who signed the contract 3 days ago with a $200 deposit. Today, she just called me to cancell it. It states in my contract that the deposit is not refundable, do I have to honor my contract or just go ahead refund her money back?

Jun
Jun,
You've gotten comments from some focusing on the legal viewpoint of the issue and some looking at it from a moral viewpoint.

If you want a legal answer to your question, you should consult a lawyer in your area because no one here so far claims to be a lawyer, so what you've gotten is laymen's law, which means nothing legally.

If you are asking for opinion based on the morality viewpoint, you've gotten those too. And, those are just emotional feelings from regular people, again which mean nothing.

It really comes down to what you think is the right thing to do. No one here has to live with you. But you do have to live with yourself. Do what you think is right and pay no real attention to my opinion or anyone else's.

Good luck with it.

Jeff
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Old May 9th, 2010, 06:54 PM   #26
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Thank you for all the good responses. My customer called me today and told me just to not cancell the coverage anymore. I think i'ts just a misunderstanding between the bride and the groom. Actually they already have fully paid me but the full payment was post dated one week before the wedding. Gladly I didn't throw the check. I hope I don't have any problem with this coverage.

Jun
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Old May 9th, 2010, 10:19 PM   #27
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it sounds like a lot of miscommunication between the B&G and yourself, since obviously the information you were given was to cancel but they really didn't. As for the check, this is just me, but I NEVER and I mean NEVER take a post-dated check. My attorney told me as did the managers of 2 bracnhes of 2 of the largest banks left, that writing a post dated check is technically illeagle. Now I am not going to argue whether it is or not but what I do is I have them date the check for the day it is written and put it in an envelope with a deposit date on it and deposit it on that date. Again whethter it is illeagle or not, well, that's what I've been told, who knows but the way I do it should their check bounce, they can't say I depositied before the date written on the check. Just a little thing.
Anyway I'm glad that you got it all straightened out with them and glad you got paid in full.
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Old May 9th, 2010, 11:40 PM   #28
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Technically a post dated check is a check written on non-existent (at the time) funds, thus technically illegal.

That said, I don't think it's unreasonable for a one man outfit to take such an instrument with a friendly understanding as to when the funds WILL be available, and when the check will be OK to deposit. Notice I said a "one man" operation, where there won't be any "accidents" like an early deposit... I used to do it all the time for my customers, never ever had a problem, but there's no mistaking where the buck stops.

Depending on how far in advance you're talking, you should keep in mind that there may be a limit on how "old" a check will be honored by the bank, I don't know offhand what the rules are on that, but I wouldn't want to take a check for next year and have trouble when presenting it...
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Old May 9th, 2010, 11:49 PM   #29
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The customer ask me if she can post date the full payment and I agreed. It's only one week post dated, not a big deal to me.

Thanks,
Jun
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Old May 11th, 2010, 05:47 AM   #30
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you need to give her the money back and cancel her. post dating a check? is this for before or
after the wedding? she can easily put a stop on it. bad business.
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