Post # 1
Yes, we should’ve had a contract written out but the restaurant doesn’t provide contracts when hosting events (Long story of why we chose them) That’s no excuse – lesson learned! The owner backed out with what some of the things she’s agreed to after we gave her the deposit. She claimed the deposit is non-refundable though that was never mentioned or written. She has yet to provide any services.
Is there anything we can do to get our deposit back? She’s already cashed the check.
Post # 2
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
no contract, no case. Expensive lesson learned!
Post # 4
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
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
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
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
I would definitely file a case in small claims court, it’s usually pretty cheap.