Post # 1
Have any of you experienced something like this? I contacted the Santa Catalina Island Company late last year (2012) asking for venue pricing. They quoted me $4,000 for venue rental (ceremony inclusive), plus a $6,500 food and beverage minimum. That seemed reasonable, but it was far too early for us to book a venue for our 2014 wedding…and my mom was still on the fence about us getting married on an island (because we’d have to pay for the guests ferry passes–and because she was concerned guests would leave early to catch the last ferry rather than stay overnight). Now that we’re ready to book, I followed up with the Santa Catalina Island Company, and yesterday I was forwarded to a different catering manager (apparently I spoke to a “sales manager” before), who gave me completely different venue rental costs…and we’re not talking a small annual mark up. I expected that. She quoted me $8,000 for the reception venue rental, and $5,000 for ceremony venue rental. That’s a price change of $9,000 in only a few months! I felt TOTALLY bait and switched. Worst part was, we really loved that venue…now, even if they honor last year’s prices (which I doubt they would), I don’t know if I feel comfortable working with them. What else would they try to upcharge us on? I emailed them to ask why such a dramatic change in prices…but as yet, I haven’t heard back. We’ll see.
Anyone else experienced a vendor try to bait and switch them? Quote one price and then up the price when you are ready to book a service or purchase a product? It’s SO frustrating! Especially given that you know prices are inflated already as soon as you mention the “w” word.
Post # 3
When my wedding was postponed, my father passed away. Our venue said that since we are booking for next year, we then had to pay for “next” years prices…which was almost 2000$ more. We loved the venue and still paid the difference, but will not recommend them to any of our friends who ask.
I’m so sorry that they are doing this to you!
Post # 4
Unless you signed a contract, they aren’t obligated to offer you previous year prices. I don’t really see this as a bait-and-switch in the true sense.
Post # 5
- Wedding: November 2013 - St. Augustine Beach, FL
Prices usually go up every year so no it’s not suprising and I wouldn’t necessarily consider it bait and switch.
Post # 6
This isn’t bait and switch…vendors typically raise their prices every year or so. For example, when I booked my photographer last year (2012) it was $2,200 and now its $2,450.
Post # 7
That seems like a large increase, but not all together unheard of. When you first inquired did you mention how far off the date was? If so they should have told you that the price was likely to go up. Even if they didn’t know the new amount I’m sure they had an idea that things go up each year.
While it isn’t technically bait and switch, they certainly were not very transparent with you. When it comes to things like this I like to be able to trust that my vendor is going to make me aware of all important details and options, so I wouldn’t be very keen on working with that place.
Post # 8
@MrsWBS: +1. Venues change their prices usually each year so unless you signed the contract specifically stating that’s the price you’ll pay, you can’t really do much about it.
Post # 9
- Wedding: November 2013 - St. Augustine Beach, FL
Also, they may have been giving you minimums or prices for one date but when you called again you asked for a specific date. Our venue doubles in price from low season to high season.
Post # 10
Technically, you ladies are incorrect…I worked in advertising and the definition of bait and switch is advertising one price and then changing it at the point of sale. So…it technically IS bait and switch.
I also mentioned it to one of my bridesmaids (who is a lawyer) and she said that in any other industry, that would NOT fly at all.
Post # 11
That said, I do understand that venues raise prices every year…but jumping from $4,000 to $13,000??? That’s insane.
I would have been totally prepared to pay an increase of $500-2,000 (that seems to be the industry standard annual increase for my area)…but not $9,000.
Post # 12
It does seem like a large increase, but I think it might be because you’re talking to someone else. Usually venues and vendors DO increase every year, but not to the tune of thousands of dollars.
Talking to the manager, and talking to the sales manager are TWO things. It’s possible that the sales manage could be getting comission, or even just a bonus off booking the venue.
Perhaps you could ask to talk to the previous person you talked to?
Post # 13
A lot of factors go into a venue’s pricing, including how popular they are. Even something as routine as a good review in a local magazine can spur on a lot of interested customers, and you never know how many other brides you’re competing with. Bait-and-switch would be if you’d already signed a contract and you were faced with taking, say, an inferior room in the venue or paying a steep upcharge that hadn’t been disclosed at the time of booking. Without a contract, it’s not bait-and-switch. Perhaps you’re requesting quotes for different days, or perhaps their primary competitor has gone out of business, leaving a lot more potential business and driving up the costs.
Post # 14
@jenilynevette: Yes, but if the sales manager was getting a commission, wouldn’t he have been the one to quote a higher price? He quoted HALF what they are asking now. And he actually was the one that forwarded me to the catering manager…
Post # 15
I would wonder about the seasonal changes, I know a lot of venues here charge thousands more between May & September and premiums on top of that for Saturdays. Perhaps the original person gave you the lowest you could possibly pay (a friday in january for example) and the actual price is based on your preferred date.
I totally see your frustration though and wouldn’t be happy if i was you either! Most places here have been telling me to allow a 10% increase on prices when they’re sending me 2013 prices for my 2014 wedding
Post # 16
@fishbone: That’s NOT accurate. Legally speaking, bait and switch applies to advertising BEFORE you make a purchase. Companies cannot advertise one price, and then when you enter a store either a) tell you they are sold out of a product or service or b) try to sell you a different product or service. That’s illegal. It doesn’t necessarily mean you have to have a contract in place already.
From what I’ve heard, the wedding industry gets away with a lot, because no one reports anything. Brides want their weddings at a particular venue (or to use a particular product or vendor) SO BADLY they don’t report any illegal or unethical behavior by that venue or vendor.
That said, I don’t plan to do anything myself…except take my money and my wedding elsewhere.