(Closed) Fired caterer, no contract signed, can we get our deposit back?

posted 6 years ago in Money
Post # 2
632 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2016

View original reply
mrslionheart:  all I can say is take her to small claims court… She might give it back if she knows in the end she will have to pay court costs…. Do you have any kind of paper trail such as emails ? 

Post # 3
8601 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2015

no contract, no case. Expensive lesson learned!

Post # 4
126 posts
Blushing bee

That sucks! I would at least do a review somehwere online.

Do you have this all in writing? You might be able to get the money back with a lawyer, but that might end up being more expensive than the deposit.

Post # 5
9971 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

Unfortunately, you don’t have a contract so you have no proof of what was agreed on.  Any effort to hire a lawyer will probably cost you more than you’re out from the restaurant.

Remember this in the future — don’t fork over large amounts of money without contracts.

Post # 6
6574 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: October 2014

Even without a contract, deposits in general are non-refundable because their whole purpose is to provide a financial tie between the customer and the vendor so that both hold up their end of the bargain. Since you don’t have a contract, you can’t prove that your reason for firing her was within the bounds of the contract, and therefore you didn’t hold up your end of the bargain.

Post # 7
894 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: April 2014

You may not have a written contract but you certainly have a verbal one. Did you pay with check? Do you have any emails or anything confirming services? If she backed out first then SHE breached and you are entitled to your deposit back. 

If it were me, I would send a certified letter detailing the matter as you see it and requesting the deposit back. End the letter saying that you will be forced to proceed to court if the deposit is not returned within x days. Sometimes the threat of a lawsuit is enough to get things moving. 

Also check your state for limits on small claims. Catering is expensive and if you put down a large deposit then it may be over the limit. However, you can always stay within small claims and just claim the max allowed, even if it is less than the original deposit  If you choose to hire a lawyer and take it out of small claims, it will seriously cut into any deposit that is returned. 

Post # 8
394 posts
Helper bee

I would definitely file a case in small claims court, it’s usually pretty cheap. 

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