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Wonder if anyone has any experience of this on a legal standpoint for wedding photography. I had an enquiry from a potential bride. She hastily booked another tog who's work is not great 9 days ago. She signed a booking form and sent a £300 deposit through paypal. She informed the tog within 7 days to say she'd like to cancel as she now wants me to photograph it but doesn't want to loose all that money.
The tog replied and said that's not possible and she would have to pay more (equivalent of 1/2 the total price to cancel) There was terms and conditions on the booking form which she didn't copy so does not recall what they say. The tog is being a bit reluctant to send the terms back to her although he says he will.
Where do you think she stands or is it impossible to know without a copy of the t&c's. Surely cancelling within a week you should be able to get all money back. I know if i had a booking cancel in a week that's what I'd do.
She also asked if she couldn't cancel could I come and take some 'wow' photos with the other tog still being there. Standing well clear of that suggestion with the biggest bargepole I can find!!
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Quote: The tog is being a bit reluctant to send the terms back to her although he says he will.
Hmm... sounds odd. THe T&Cs are vital in this situation. If I were her, I'd insist.
I am guessing she could raise a 'dispute' on PayPal - but I'm sure others may know more about that aspect.
I would be very surprised if his contract said the cancellatoin charge was half the price of the wedding - which is probably why he has not sent a copy of the contract to her. And I am sure it would not stand up to scrutiny in court. I can, however, understand that the contract would say the £300 is non-refundable. However, I have read cases where the court has found that ifa contract is cancelled within a reasonably short time and a long while before the contract starts, even withholding a deposit for services not offered is unreasonable (though circumstances may differ in this case). You never know, the T&C may even say that she is entitled to a 100% refund !!
If he delays sending the contract I would immediately be suspicious if the T&C are after the signature because he can swap any pages he wants. I suggest she goes round to his office and ask for it in person.
She should repeat her request for a copy of the signed contract and if he does not provide it within 7days, threaten him with a small claims to recoup the deposit. That should get him moving.
It may be worth you having a good look through those Ts & Cs to see where she stands. I find it hard to believe she could be held liable for additional cost at such short notice, however, she may lose her deposit. If she has home insurance it may entitle her to free time with a solicitor to thoroughly check the legalities or she could contact the CAB and Office of Fair Trading. Probably be good if she told the other tog what she was doing as well, this may result in some pretty swift action on their part! (Not forgetting the local press. They love stories like this!)
If a bride booked me and then changed her mind after such a short time I would have to consider whether a refund was in order (our Ts & Cs are very clear on this) and if by not doing so it could serve to damage our reputation. Either way I would not be chasing for the balance but instead be looking to refill that date.
Sorry missed the part that said she does not have a copy. If this is the case then the Tog is in deep doodoo if he is unwilling to give her a copy.
I may be wrong, but I suspect PayPal by it's very nature comes under the remote selling regulations, I would contact PayPal pronto.
As I say I may be wrong but it costs nothing to ask the question.
Hoping this helps!
That is a good point.
If the wedding was negotiated and booked over the internet or phone it may well fall under the remote selling regulations. If the 'sale' was done face-to-face then I don't think it does and Paypal is merely a way of transferring money.
Where was the booking form signed? If it was at the photographer's premises, then a contact exists but can be set aside if a Court rules that the payment terms are unfair. It might be worthwhile for your customer to contact the photographer and refuse to make any further payment. I'd be surprised if the photogapher threatened to take them to Court because the payment terms do seem "unfair".
If the contract was signed away from the photographer's premises then distant selling rules apply and your customer should demand a refund of the £300.
If the £300 was described as a "deposit", it must be refunded anyway but the photographer could calim compensation for "loss".
Quote: She informed the tog within 7 days to say she'd like to cancel
I am not a lawyer however if this is the case and the bride has proof of such the wedding photographer will have to refund her deposit; the wedding photographer's t&c cannot override UK law and btw (though this is outside the 7 day cooling off period) cannot act against the best interest of the client ... that comes under unfair terms & condtions.
I've just spoken to my brother (an accountant), apparantly the remote selling regs only apply business to private person!
The important point is, if the email address linked to PayPal was a business one, e.g. joesmithphotography.co (other imanginary photogrphers available) etc, the regs apply, request a full refund under the cooling off period. If the payement was on a credit card via PayPal contact the card company explain the situation and request a refund.
If you get no satisfaction threaten the small claims court very inexpensive, also threaten with the local press much sympathy "heartless photographer spoils brides wedding", etc. etc.
This may prove useful info. I thought that consumers on any such contract were protected by a 'cooling off' period. The photographer can not refuse to release the T&C's.
Two sides to every story , if someone books us and changes their mind they lose their deposit , in the contract regardless of how and where they booked once we are booked we then begin turning away other work so would lose out , also depending upon the time left before the wedding we would charge a fee if for instance it was too close to the day for us to rebook and to be honest most professional photographers who do this full time would do the same. The simple reason for this is to stop people who change their mind and decide to get the job cheaper at the last minute.
Regardless of what you say you would do in that situation the other photographer is well withing their rights to keep the deposit if thats in their terms , but not necessarily charge any more , after all she is changing her mind to book you which is not particularly going to stand up well in court , try taking a book back to a bookshop and tell them you have seen a better one and want a refund.
As a solution if you go down the road of booking her you could offer her a discount on your price and tell her just to inform the other tog she isnt using them and they can keep the deposit, that may be a way to solve it ?
Quote: I've just spoken to my brother (an accountant), apparantly the remote selling regs only apply business to private person!
I thought the bride in question was a private person.
Many traders do try to talke liberties with their customers. The average wedding photographer hasn't been in business very long and doesn't understand consumer law because there are so many new entrants and many old hands like She-who-must-be-obeyed are retiring from doing weddings. A mention of Trading Standars usually does the trick.
Quote: . If the payment was on a credit card via PayPal contact the card company explain the situation and request a refund..
Just a general point in relation to the above statement.
When paying by credit card via Paypal, much of the normal credit card protection is lost as the "vendor" as far as the credit card issuer is concerned is Paypal, not the ultimate seller. Worth knowing that. Paypal will normally only void a transaction of the vendor has breached Paypal regulations - they are not renowned for refunding money just out of sympathy.
Not sure about the distance selling regulations - but I have a sneaky feeling that they only offer cancellation guarantees when the initial sales approach is made by the vendor rather than by the purchaser. Might be wrong about that though - but worth checking.
When i was going to go down the road of wedding photography I had a contract written up by a friend who is a lawyer and in it he put a 30 day cooling off period before deposit wasn't paid back then it had something along the lines of if there was 90 days until the wedding and they cancelled they would have to pay the balance. Then another period after the 90 days a certain percent so on. He was taking into account the probability of booking other weddings, but he also put in it that if a wedding was booked to replace it, whatever money you got from the new wedding would be refunded to the original bride excluding the deposit and obviously no more than what you get from the new one. That way, I wouldn't get paid for two weddings on the same day. Hope this makes sense. He also told me to explain this to the couple and when they sign, they sign the contract and then again to say they have had it explained.
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