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Old June 6th, 2013, 08:13 AM   #1
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Bride cancels 3 days before wedding - what would you do?

I've had a couple of cancellations over the years but never 3 days before the wedding - I've had trouble getting in touch with this bride - not answering calls/emails and now she sends me a text message saying due to not enough funds she's cancelling me.

Contractually if she cancels within 30 days she has to pay 75% anyway.

I'm angry and have turned inquiries down for this date so am going to pursue it but I'm slightly worried in these days of facebook and twitter that it might be a case of 'nasty videographer sues hard up newlyweds' and any adverse publicity that might ensue!

Just to qualify that I had a loose relationship (recommending each other etc) with a tog a few years back - he started to get bad publicity on facebook and I lost 2 jobs due to his bad publicity.

Thoughts?

Pete
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Old June 6th, 2013, 08:25 AM   #2
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Re: Bride cancels 3 days before wedding - what would you do?

A contract is a contract. Maybe take 50% instead of 75% as a "goodwill gesture" but since you did turn other work down you'll still be out of pocket.

To give you 3 days notice is totally unreasonable (unless it's for death or unexpected serious issues), surely??

After all, you've been trying to contact her for a while/she has your contact info ...so she's had many opportunities "to warn you this was coming".

Glad I don't do weddings!
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Old June 6th, 2013, 08:26 AM   #3
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Re: Bride cancels 3 days before wedding - what would you do?

Is it possible to sell the bad debt to a collection agency and let them pursue it?
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Old June 6th, 2013, 08:28 AM   #4
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Re: Bride cancels 3 days before wedding - what would you do?

There is no point having a contract if you are not prepared to enforce it, but although I don't do weddings, and do not take deposits from my mainly business clients, if they order my services, and agree the terms, then within the week, they may as well have the shoot because they will get the full invoice cost, no matter what.

3 days would almost guarantee the County Court would side with you - however, if she has no money to pay you, then the judgement could be pointless - blood out of a stone being apt. Never seek a CCJ unless you are certain they can pay.

I don't know if it's too late, but why not agree to do the wedding with staged repayments - something monthly, rather than the big outlay?
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Old June 6th, 2013, 08:28 AM   #5
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Re: Bride cancels 3 days before wedding - what would you do?

Not much you can do besides sticking to your contract terms - send an invoice immediately for the 75% with a friendly/non threatening letter referring to the terms and conditions she agreed to - I'd go with registered post/ next day delivery as well as an email and text referring to it. Add that payment must be within 30 days of receipt of invoice.

It may make them think twice or they may call your bluff. I wouldn't pursue it through the courts if it was me - that type of thing gets around I'm sure.

Did you get a non-refundable booking deposit? When drawing up my own contract template I made this part of it - so at least if it's cancelled at short notice I'm getting "paid" for the day filming the event, but I do lose out on the edit fee. If it happens it allows time for other stuff though that's been on the long finger... taxes, filing documents, the boring stuff.

Question for you - what's a tog??
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Old June 6th, 2013, 08:29 AM   #6
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Re: Bride cancels 3 days before wedding - what would you do?

Sorry to hear about this problem. Our terms are payment in full 28 days before the wedding. It's never happened that we haven't been paid well before the event although I am at present chasing up one couple as their wedding is in three weeks time and we still haven't been paid although we have taken a 500 booking fee. I am not certain that I would go as far as taking them to court if they don't pay but we sure as hell won't be turning up at the wedding without payment.
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Old June 6th, 2013, 08:41 AM   #7
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Re: Bride cancels 3 days before wedding - what would you do?

You can try to collect, though be ready for a fight.

For the future, it's easier to already have the money.

This is exactly why our contract has staggered payments. 25% when they sign, 25% at set dates, and the rest the day of. If they cancel 30 days out, which just happened, I already have the 75%. Also, non of these are called retainers or deposits in the contract. They're 'non-refundable payments.'

The idea being the payments are made about the same time that the value of the date goes down. For me, around November and February.

Good luck.
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Old June 6th, 2013, 08:45 AM   #8
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Re: Bride cancels 3 days before wedding - what would you do?

I do take 150 booking deposit which is no-refundable but doesn't cover my shooting time for the day. Paul's right - no point having a contract and not enforcing it. I'll take Ryan's advice and send a polite invoice for the cancellation payment. Not sure I'd pursue it through court though.

I have her phone number an postal address (her email bounces) but she won't answer the phone but will contact via text. My other worry is If I land this on her and she thinks 'well he might as well film the wedding anyway seeing as I'm going to have to pay most of it anyway' - what an awkward shoot that would be - "here's the video guy that was going to sue me"

Very difficult one this is for sure!
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Old June 6th, 2013, 08:54 AM   #9
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Re: Bride cancels 3 days before wedding - what would you do?

Often people are embarrassed to give the real reason for a decision. Have you checked to see if the wedding itself is still on?
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Old June 6th, 2013, 08:58 AM   #10
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Re: Bride cancels 3 days before wedding - what would you do?

The wedding is on - I checked with the wedding planner last week (it's a venue I've filmed at before) as I wanted to make sure her phone number I was using is current as she was not responding.
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Old June 6th, 2013, 09:33 AM   #11
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Re: Bride cancels 3 days before wedding - what would you do?

That's a relief Pete!!

I find that my best way to do things is collect 1/3rd on booking (regardless of when they book) and then a second 1/3rd 2 weeks before the wedding ...if they cancel at the last minute then at least I have 2/3rds of the package for my effort. My final 1/3rd is due when the DVD's are ready for delivery ..they pay me or they don't get a delivery, simple as that.

I would like to get the full amount a month before like Nigel does but there seemed to be some resistance to paying everything up front without getting anything in return so I stick with the 3 x 1/3rd's ..I figure that if they have paid 2/3rd there is no way they will forfeit that and get nothing so they always pay the last bit.

In the last 10 years I haven't had any defaulters at all so it must work and sounds fairer to the bride...All my payments received prior to the wedding are also non-refundable but I do have a limited liability clause saying I would return all monies paid IF I cannot do the job (sorta got hit by a bus or suchlike)

Glad it worked out for you .. I had the same last season where a bride changed address and phones and forgot to tell me ..the wedding still went ahead and I got paid too!

Chris
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Old June 6th, 2013, 09:38 AM   #12
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Re: Bride cancels 3 days before wedding - what would you do?

No it hasn't worked out Chris - I only know the wedding is on because I checked with the wedding planner that her phone number was current as she wasn't taking my calls - she's still cancelled me unfortunately.

I do like your 'payment in thirds' idea though - I might adopt that :)
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Old June 6th, 2013, 10:22 AM   #13
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Re: Bride cancels 3 days before wedding - what would you do?

I'd do the polite note, but with a specific time to resolve it by.

When doing payments, I don't see much benefit to 2 weeks before. Consider when the date becomes worthless to you... that is, when does it become unlikely anyone else will take their date? That's when the payment(s) should be due.

If you do payments, just remember to put in the consequence/resolution part:

-Payment of $295 is due February 15th, 2014.
-All payments are non-refundable after scheduled payment date. Any payment made prior to required payment date is refundable until said date passes, in event of cancellation.
-Late or non payment is grounds for termination of contract, with at least 14 days written notice of termination provided by Robert Benda.
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Old June 6th, 2013, 11:00 AM   #14
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Re: Bride cancels 3 days before wedding - what would you do?

Hi Pete
Its happened to me three times the past 12 months, they just said could not afford it and video is a luxury for them anyway? Take me to court! So i did on one occasion and received just 25% of the money owed due to them making a sob out of work story...They now slag me of to everyone in a sly way... I am now asking for 250 deposit to secure the day then 30 days full payment from them before the date. I find that they do not want to lose the 250 so touch wood all good this past three months..Steve









Wedding Video Liverpool Photography Liverpool Capture Your Moments Wedding
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Old June 6th, 2013, 11:20 AM   #15
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Re: Bride cancels 3 days before wedding - what would you do?

I tried requesting "payment in full before the date" on one contract I sent out - as a tester... and didn't hear back from them for weeks. They had been very keen and ready to go, so I was confused. When I followed it up, they said it was that condition that worried them so they weren't sure what to do - pay or find someone else?

I get where they're coming from in fairness - I'd be wary of paying upfront for work that has yet to be done. After some re-assurance they agreed to pay 30% up front with the balance on the day - which is what my contracts for Weddings all are now, with final amount due on/before day of wedding.

But, editing won't start until full payment received - so if they want the film by the end of the honeymoon, they need to pay on the day - cash, credit card, cheque (but no edit starts until cheque clears my account!). Avoids any messing on the day.
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