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Old July 7th, 2017, 05:56 PM   #1
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Do You Charge Clients For Cancellations?

Hi guys, just editing some of my terms and conditions, and can't help but wonder how some videographers say they'll charge clients say, 50% of the wedding package booked if cancelled within, say 90 days of a wedding. As far as I am aware, a client won't just give their bank details away to allow the videographer to charge them, so what do people here do?

I assume some of you may take card details down upon booking, however I'm a bit apprehensive about doing that. At the moment, I use PayPal or bank transfer for payments (I also use intuit if they were to demand card payments directly but I've not had that happen for quite some time). Either way, I'll be happy to hear exactly HOW others deal with charging clients. Thanks in advance.

Lewis
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Old July 7th, 2017, 06:59 PM   #2
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Re: Do You Charge Clients For Cancellations?

Just my opinion of course and I respect that others may differ but I would find 50% fee within 90 days unreasonable.

The spirit of cancellation fees is to (partially) cover for the missed net profit business opportunity. 90 days is a long time and should be enough to obtain alternative assignments.

I think within 30-45 days is more reasonable but even then I would distinguish between "we decided to take someone else" and cancellation for cause, for instance personal dramas.

If you want a fee of 50% in case of a cancellation then I would charge a 50% non-refundable payment (within the time frame you have put in the contract) by credit card or PayPal.

If you do not charge a non-refundable payment immediately and there is a problem later on you would have to request/demand the other party to pay the 50% fee. To collect it yourself simply because you are in the possession of their bank account number seems questionable especially when the other party disputes the fee. If they refuse to pay you would have to sue them, taking their money without their consent might lead you in rough legal waters.
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Old July 7th, 2017, 10:11 PM   #3
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Re: Do You Charge Clients For Cancellations?

Our brides pay 1/3rd of the price within 7 days of booking and if they cancel at anytime up to 2 weeks before the wedding they just lose their 1/3rd deposit .They are required to pay the final 2/3rds at latest 14 days before the wedding so if they cancel in that period they lose the full amount.

We have had brides cancel totally and we just keep the deposit which they are informed about before booking. To slug them with another "cancellation payment" is only going to give you a bad name and not any referrals so I'm happy to be compensated by the 1/3rd amount!

I have a DJ friend who insists on big cancellation fees and now he simply doesn't get any work ....bad mouthing spreads quickly on social media nowdays!!
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Old July 8th, 2017, 01:34 AM   #4
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Re: Do You Charge Clients For Cancellations?

You don't charge your clients after they cancelled, you ask for a deposit to secure the booking and put it into the contract that it's non refundable when they cancel XX days before the wedding. How many days that is you need to ask yourself from which point you think that there is a risk you cannot secure a new booking. In any case, always have a lawyer check if everything is acc to law,

Last edited by Noa Put; July 9th, 2017 at 01:25 AM.
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Old July 8th, 2017, 05:00 PM   #5
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Re: Do You Charge Clients For Cancellations?

You may be happy to retain the booking fee or any fee paid before the cancellation, but what about people who don't get every week filled up and as a result of losing a booking may not be able to get any other work for that week? Plus when I exhibit at a big local wedding fair, the contract with them says that I can be charged 100% of the stand fee if I cancel within 6 months before the fair, as detailed below. So from what I've seen, it's not that uncommon for wedding service providers and many other companies to have harsh cancellation fees.

"CANCELLATION BY EXHIBITOR
A In the event that the Exhibitor:
i requests that it cancels its Space booking after acceptance by the Organiser; or
ii fails to meet any of the payment obligations (whether as to the amounts due or dates of payment) detailed in the Contract
For Space; or
iii fails to occupy the Space allotted to it by the opening time on the first day of the Exhibition, THEN the Organiser reserves
the right (but without being obliged to do so) to treat the Contract For Space as being cancelled and apply the following
cancellation charges and to re-allocate the Space booked to another Exhibitor:
CANCELLATION OCCURRING: CANCELLATION CHARGE:-
More than 9 months prior to Exhibition opening date 20% of total charge
Between 6 and 9 months prior to Exhibition opening date 50% of total charge
Less than 6 months prior to Exhibition opening date 100% of total charge"
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Old July 8th, 2017, 05:33 PM   #6
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Re: Do You Charge Clients For Cancellations?

Lewis, it is entirely up to you, you have to use your own standards and judgement for what you think is right and reasonable.

But if you invite comments please do not be upset or defensive when others find your cancellation fees too high.

I'd say use the "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" principle not the "Do unto others as they do unto you" as a the starting principle to determine what is fair,
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Old July 9th, 2017, 01:44 AM   #7
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Re: Do You Charge Clients For Cancellations?

That's why you need to talk to a lawyer to see how that holds up in court, lets say you charge 3K for a wedding and ask the client to pay that entire money upfront, if the wedding gets cancelled or if your services are no longer required and you keep all the money there is a high risk the client will take you to court and there is a possibility the judge will find it unreasonable for you to keep 3K for doing absolutely nothing. A non refundable deposit which is a certain percentage of the full amount however is something any judge will grant you for loosing the job and to recover at least a bit of your losses.

your example of exhibitor is not exactly the same, there you are talking about one event where they have a lot of clients attending, they have a heavier investment like for rentingcosts, advertisement etc so if a few vendors decide not to show up anymore their financial loss could be too high to recover from. In your case, how many times does that happen in a year? In over 10 years I had maybe 5 clients cancel, they didn't complain about the lost deposit because they know that legally they don't stand a case if they go to court but I"m sure if I would have kept the full amount I'd risk loosing a part of it in a lawsuit but also had to face trashtalk on online media. For me that would not be worth it, I would just take the partial losses and move on.

One thing I am curious about though, lets say a client cancels a wedding and you keep the deposit that already was payed, what if you manage to book a new wedding on that date, would you give the client who canceled their deposit back? I would.
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Old July 9th, 2017, 05:16 AM   #8
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Re: Do You Charge Clients For Cancellations?

Hi Noa

We also do that!... so if a bride books us in January for a November wedding and her fiance runs off with her best friend she would cancel the wedding ...we would have already been paid 1/3rd of the package cost so we offer the date to other couples and if they book, the original bride would get her money back ....To grab money from a bride posted in the way above is certainly not going to earn you any brownie points and more than like it will quickly get onto social media "don't book that guy, he's a crook!" Much better to look at the situation first before insisting on them paying you 100% cancellation fee.

I would rather keep a good reputation amongst brides than be labelled as the bad guy! It's a business killer if you become the latter! I can honestly say that in the last 10 years of shooting wedding I have only had 3 cancellations and all had genuine reasons and I was able to also rebook two of the three so it happens more frequently than that then maybe you are doing something wrong ..brides would only cancel in extreme cases!
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Old July 9th, 2017, 06:59 AM   #9
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Re: Do You Charge Clients For Cancellations?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Harding View Post
I would rather keep a good reputation amongst brides than be labelled as the bad guy!
Not to mention that eventually that jilted bride will get married, and if you were kind to her, you will be her first choice for her new wedding
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Old July 9th, 2017, 07:14 AM   #10
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Re: Do You Charge Clients For Cancellations?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lewis Raymond View Post
Hi guys, just editing some of my terms and conditions, and can't help but wonder how some videographers say they'll charge clients say, 50% of the wedding package booked if cancelled within, say 90 days of a wedding. As far as I am aware, a client won't just give their bank details away to allow the videographer to charge them, so what do people here do?
There are postings in Still-Photography wedding forums that talk about how you you not use the term "DEPOSIT" in your contracts. The Term Deposit, even "Non-Refundable Deposit" has an implicit meaning that money can be returned if services are not rendered.

Instead, many Wedding Photographers use the term, "Retainer", to imply that you are paying for the Vendor to set-aside that time exclusively for you.

YMMV
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Old July 9th, 2017, 12:30 PM   #11
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Re: Do You Charge Clients For Cancellations?

I doubt anyone will ever get money after the event is cancelled.

We charge a 500 non refundable 'booking fee' to secure the date. No matter what happens, they don't get that back. As others day we don't use the term deposit as depending on the location in the world this can usually be refunded. If they cancel 2 years or 2 hours before the wedding we only get the 500. It's low enough that people can afford it before pay day but high enough that we walk away with something. Yes, it means we loose out on a booking we could have taken but the chances of a cancellation are low, only twice in 10 years and normally happen with enough time to fill with another booking.

You don't want your terms to make you sound like a twat. It's hard to demand a lot of money for something you've not attended or edited just because you've missed out on a booking. Thats the nature of being in business. You've got to weigh the pros and cons of loosing a booking against the chances of it actually happening or putting people off.

Find a number you would be comfortable with taking in the case of a cancellation but don't put people off or price it so high they need to save up.

You could also have a fully refundable deposit or a 99 deposit as your unique selling point. Wouldn't recommend it though :)
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Old July 9th, 2017, 12:31 PM   #12
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Re: Do You Charge Clients For Cancellations?

Interesting article here The Myth of the Non-Refundable Deposit – Law for Photographers | LIFE, LAW AND LEMON DROPS
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Old July 9th, 2017, 05:52 PM   #13
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Re: Do You Charge Clients For Cancellations?

I'm not upset at all. You misunderstand. My cancellation fee is the loss of the 100 "deposit" only. Which I'm sure you'll agree is more than fair.

Not only that, I've just received an email from a Bride who's informing me of her cancellation of her wedding video due to financial reasons... It's only 2 months away and am now down 600.

I'm simply looking for different opinions here, and whether it is enforceable to charge clients more should they cancel and should the policy state a cancellation fee.
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Old July 9th, 2017, 08:36 PM   #14
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Re: Do You Charge Clients For Cancellations?

Hi Lewis

I call mine a "booking fee" (payable with 7 days) and a "final fee" payable a month before the wedding. My terms and conditions state "all payments are non- refundable but they are transferrable should the client move the event to a new date and we are available"

If they have big issues, whether they are financial or personal ...they technically can lose whatever they have paid me but I can over-ride and do a refund if I choose to. In your case where your bride cancelled 2 months out, my package is $1699 in total so they would have paid me 1/3rd and would lose $566 which was the booking fee. I would reserve the right to refund the booking fee as I saw fit (if I rebooked the date) but it's not in the contract at all. If they had dumped me for another cheaper vendor I wouldn't give them a refund. Best to keep your contract simple and just say no refunds but I wouldn't charge any sort of "cancellation fee" it sounds like a rip off (whether it is or not)
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Old July 10th, 2017, 03:05 AM   #15
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Re: Do You Charge Clients For Cancellations?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lewis Raymond View Post
I'm simply looking for different opinions here, and whether it is enforceable to charge clients more should they cancel and should the policy state a cancellation fee.
I think it will be difficult to charge them after they cancel, especially when they cancel for financial reason, if they refuse to pay then it's up to you to take them to court and that might not be the best way to deal with such a situation. I would raise the booking deposit to 50% and have a lawyer put that into writing.
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