(Closed) DJ contract – is this normal?

posted 6 years ago in Legal
Post # 3
Member
6110 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: October 2013

@kcanon:  First off, there is no way I would put a deposit down without reading through a contract first. Judging by the favortism to himself in his contract, I’m going to say that if you decide to not go with him, you probably won’t get that deposit back…but it wouldn’t hurt to ask.

1. If all the other DJs are booked, then I can see why you wouldn’t get a replacement. Like you said, this seems like standard practice.

2. If the DJ cancels you can bet your ass he will not be keeping my deposit. If I cancel, then yes obviously he would keep it. This statement alone would make me say hell no to this guy,

3. Most of my vendors require the final payment before the wedding date. Only my photographer said we have until the day of to get it to her. So this seems like normal practice in my area.

4. Once again, if he takes me to court I’m sure as shit not paying for his fees. Even if I lose, I’m not paying for it. He was the one that took me to court and brought those fees upon himself.

I don’t want to sound harsh, but based on my experience with my DJ and other vendors, I would not use this guy or company.

Post # 4
Member
979 posts
Busy bee

As a wedding vendr myself:

-I replace myself with another photographer if I can’t make the wedding.  Emergencies happen. People get sick…etc. Usually, my assistant takes over the job.

-Deposits are always non-refundable. ETA:  Deposits to hold the date are non-refundable, but if the balance due is paid 6 months prior to the wedding, and the client cancels before the wedding, they forfeight a percentage of their payment and the rest is refunded back to them.  This is because of popular wedding dates being held a  year to 1.5 years in advance for a wedding and if they cancel, I’m losing out on other potential clients for that specific date and getting paid.  I’ve had it happen. Clients are ok with this. That’s why I have them pay their final balance 2 weeks prior to the wedding.  After getting burned too many times with clients not paying me, the rule changed, per lawyers,  to 2 weeks prior to an event.   I used to have clients pay me after the event, but some would never end up paying me and so they never got their pictures.

-Final payments are always due 2 weeks prior to the event

-I’m not sure about the last one about court fees. My contracts are professionally written by a lawyer, so my ass is covered every which possible way in case I ever go to court. 

You should always review the contract first. I sit with my clients for an initial meeting and go over the contract by each bullet point so they understand everything before they sign and go over any questions.  It’s written in legal terms, so I have to put it in understandable english for them to understand. 

Post # 5
Member
1181 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

Sounds really bad.

Post # 6
Member
1202 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

@kcanon:  I would lose your deposit and find another DJ. The clause about them not providing a replacement DJ if he can’t make it makes no sense. As a wedding vendor such as DJ or a photographer, he should be able to provide a suitable replacement if for whatever reason he can’t make it to the wedding. That is ridiculous…or is the business just him? But still I would be leery with how he worded it. And if there are that many red flags reading their contract, that isn’t a good sign. Follow your gut instinct and if something doesn’t feel right, don’t sign the contract and find another DJ.

Post # 7
Member
10453 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: February 2014

I would get out of this ASAP. You haven’t signed this contract yet right? 

Post # 8
Member
155 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

If he cancels, he should be providing a replacement (depending on the size of the company). Our DJ service has like 15 DJ’s and a bunch of DJ’s in training called music mixers that assist the DJ’s until they have learned enough to move up. Our contract provides for a replacement if our DJ can’t make it. In fact, we found out a few weeks ago that our originally scheduled DJ quit the company and we have a replacement from the company who we are equally satisfied with already. 

While typically deposits are non-refundable, if the DJ is the one breaking the contract, HE should be refunding the deposit.

As PP’s said, all my vendors require final payment prior to the wedding date. I think our DJ is one week before if we are paying my check, 3 days before if we are paying by credit card/cash. Not positive though because we already paid them off last month.

That attorney fee language is BS. It should either say the losing party pays or both parties pay for their respective attorney fees. It makes no sense that no matter what, you have to pay for his attorney. That’s ridiculous!

I would cross out what you aren’t agreeing to on the contract and explain to him your compromise. A rational, trustworthy person would be willing to compromise on the deposit return if he breaks the contract and the attorney’s fees at least. If he doesn’t agree to channging it, then that should be a HUGE red flag that you shouldn’t use his service. Quite honestly, I’d suggest reconsidering using him just based on that language in the contract. 

Does he have good reviews online?

Post # 10
Member
3697 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

Yup, I’d be super wary of doing busines with them.

For example, our baker.  “Stuff happens.  If the truck gets rear-ended on the way to your wedding and the cake gets smashed you won’t get your wedding cake.  But I will do everything in my power to get you some sort of dessert.  If I don’t have time to bake I will drive all over town and pay what I have to in order to get something there before dinner.”  That made me feel like he understands that it’s just a cake but it’s not just another day. 

Post # 11
Member
5660 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: August 2012

The only thing about this that DOESN”T seem shady to me is paying before the service is provided. We had to pay all vendors except the final amount on the reception venue/catering (in house) prior to the event. In fact I forgot to give the officiant her check at the rehearsal and she literally called up on the day of our wedding asking that someone give her cash because it was too late to make sure a check would clear before performing our ceremony!

Post # 12
Member
979 posts
Busy bee

@kcanon

No. My assistant (second shooter) works for me. My client isn’t hiring my assistant.  She’s been working for me for 10 years, so this is not an issue with my clients or my assistant. I just pay my assistant a little more if she would ever need to cover for me for a day.  She never has, thankfully, but I have to throw that out there to clients, because accidents happen, people get sick, people die…etc.  So I just have to reassure them, that their wedding will be covered. I still do all the post processing work, editing and such.  That is what the client sees also on my site, the final work, not just the photography.  My business is a team, me and my assistant.  

As far as the deposit, it’s stated that it is non-refundable.  Even if they cancel. I’ve had B&G’s cancel their weddings.  They didn’t get the deposits back. They knew that going into it.  That is stated on my site, contracts, during the initial meetings.  Almost 100% of photographers, in my area, have the same non-refundable deposit rules. Booking my own wedding, I’m noticing this with all my vendors too.  You cancel, you lose out on the money.  Only thing that is refundable is a % of what they pay in advance (their balance due) if they cancel their wedding, if they provide a written letter signed by both parties (B&G) with the understanding of losing out on their non refundable deposit and a % of any balance due that they already paid. The written letter is proof that they are indeed cancelling their wedding date.  

This is all to avoid any legalities in the long run in case they ever try to sue me.  

Deposits are paid to save their wedding dates far, far in advance. I can get about 3-6 people wanting 1 specific, popular date.  They pay me a deposit to hold it for them.  They cancel on me a few months prior to the wedding, why should they get the depsit back when I lost out on another full paying client that I could have booked for that same date. Does this make sense?  My deposit’s are only 25% of their total package, not 50-75% so they aren’t losing out on a TON of cash on a depsit if they cancel.

Hope that answers your question.

ETA:  If I am the one to break a contract, I am entitled to refund their deposit, with a written letter to them stating why and with the amount of the deposit written in the letter, signed by me.  

Post # 13
Member
1144 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: December 2011

Did you give a check for deposit? I’d cancel the check and not sign his contact.

Post # 14
Member
155 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

@kcanon:  I think that is a great idea. Sometimes people just put crazy one-sided language in contracts because a lot of people won’t read them and raise a fuss. However, if the DJ is a reputable vendor who genuinely wants your business, he should be open to your reasonable requests to modify the contract so it is fair to BOTH parties.

If he is willing to make the changes, definitely read over the new contract very carefully again to make sure the wording has been completely changed, nothing you didn’t agree to was added, etc. What you “think” you agreed to doesn’t really matter if your signature is on a piece of paper stating otherwise.

Good Luck! Hopefully, he’s reasonable and you guys won’t have to lose a deposit or have to start your search for a DJ over again!

Post # 15
Member
1161 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

@IzzyBear:  The main things that seem wrong are that you didn’t get to see it beforehand, there’s no replacement, and you have to cover any potential legal fees…idk it sounds shady.

Post # 16
Member
2515 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: December 2011

@jmaze:  the OP isn’t saying that if she cancels on the DJ, she should get her deposit back. she’s saying the DJ put in the contract that if the DJ cancels on the OP, then the OP doesn’t get her deposit back. i think we’re all ok and understand not getting a deposit back if we’re the ones that cancel on the vendor.

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