Post # 1
Soo the girl that we hired to be our photographer is going through a bit of a life crisis. I understand that she is having a rough time but she openly said that its affecting her work and she’s miserable. I am really worried and my sister just got her wedding pics back from her wedding in May that this photog did…they were “okay” but not what I would hope for. But anywho, I emailed the photographer, she doesnt give out her phone number, and told her we thought long and hard and decided to find a different photographer. We had given her a $100 deposit but no contract and she didnt say it was non-refundable. We have not had any pictures taken yet and she has done nothing for us. She emailed me back saying she will not refund our deposit and I am not sure what to do. My message to her was very polite and apologetic, not mean or hateful in any way. She will easily be able to fill the day she reserved for us since its far away. I just dont know what to say to her to make her refund our money since legally she doesnt have the right to keep it. We are on a very tiny budget and that $100 means a lot to us…. I just need a little advice. Thanks!
Post # 3
I hate to tell you this, but you have little to no recource on this. First off, you should never give a vendor money without a contract. Secondly, deposits [in the wedding industry] are usually non-refundable.
If there were a contract, the deposit would be hers to keep, legally speaking since you cancelled the services. Since there was no contract in place it becomes a “he said/she said” situation. Your only real chance at getting it back at this point is if you take her to small claims court. Even then you will need some sort of proof of the exchange. Do you have any emails between the two of you stating that you are hiring her or that you paid her any money? If you do, print them and save them because they are your best shot at getting your money back. If you do file a small claims court case, it will cost you money upfront, make sure you include these fees in the total you are seeking the photographer to pay ($100 + small claims court fees).
Post # 4
I doubt that you can get the deposit back…..sorry.
Post # 5
@LLRininger: I hate to say this but legally she has every right to keep it – that’s how deposits work, especially in the wedding industry. Be thankful your deposit was only $100 – mine is $1,000 and most are much much higher. Small claims is a waste of time and money when it’s a $100 dispute.
Post # 6
I have to agree with the other bees. First and foremost you should of had a signed contract when you put your initial deposit down. Secondly, if you do cancel services with a wedding vendor, the deposits are (legally) typically non-refundable.
With our photography contract, even if we cancelled services..our deposit would be non-refundable AND we would still owe the remaining balance.
Small claims court would be worthless for a mere $100, especially when it would a verbal “He said/she said” dispute.
Post # 7
I don’t think you are going to get your money back here. Just be thankful it’s not $500 or more. Legally, nothing was signed…a verbal contract may stand up somewhere but in the wedding and photography industry specifically…it tends to be non-refundable once a date is booked/contract signed.
Sucky, but it’s a good lesson to learn going forward with other vendors, make sure you get a receipt for deposits and money paid and get a contract. And you have plenty of time if you want to book someone else!
Post # 8
Eat the $100 deposit and find a different photographer. Having no contract means that you have little to no recourse. Like someone else said, just be happy it’s only $100 – most are way more than that.
Post # 9
thats what a deposit is for, to save the vendor, if you back out you lose your deposit, thats how it works everywhere!! its only $100 if you dont want to use her cut your losses and move on!
next time make sure 110% that you want that particular vendor b/4 putting down a deposit
Post # 10
Unfortunately, she has every legal right to keep it. Thats what a deposit is for. FWIW, I would have cancelled as well, but you aren’t getting your money back.
Post # 11
I agree with PPs… the deposit is for her to hold the date. Even with no contract, you have no legal right to get the money back.
Post # 12
She doesn’t have the right to keep your deposit unless the contract specifically says so. Deposits for services are not automatically considered to be non refundable unless your binding contracts says so. The wedding industry brain washes us into thinking this is the norm and it is because all the contracts reflect this. Without a contract, it’s iffy, but you have a chance of collecting if you can prove you paid her the money (check?).