Post # 1
Not sure if this is the right place for this but I am desparate and would really appreciate all and any advice.
I live in the UK but am getting married in India in December and booked my photographer way back in April. He is however from the US, which is why I’m posting here.
We signed a contract and paid him roughly $3000 as a deposit. He then wrote to me a month ago to say that he cannot make it for our wedding in India due to some personal troubles.
Since then, I’ve written to him several times to request the deposit back so I can move ahead and book someone else. He’s responded to say he’ll return it, but despite several requests for a date when, he refuses to commit to a date. He also won’t pick up any telephone calls. The contract does specify that if he cancels, the deposit must be returned although it does not say when.
The problem for me is that I can’t move ahead with anyone else until my money’s returned. We’re strapped quite tightly for money right now as wedding expenses are looming large and even though I’ve managed to find another photographer who has the dates available (and is locally resident in India) I’ve been unable to retain her until we put down a deposit.
Does anyone have any suggestions or advice on how to speed this up? I am genuinely afraid that he’ll take ages to return the money and we won’t be able to finalise someone good for our day. December is peak wedding season in India so good photographers are getting booked fast. Also, if he does try to avoid returning it at all, how would I go about enforcing the contract? (Given that he is from the US and we live in the UK?)
All advice appreciated. Thanks in advance.
Post # 3
@DoubleWeddingRaa: I would threaten immediately to take him to court via certified mail (delivered by hand with signature certified,) email, and voicemail.
Post # 4
yep. He needs to be scared.
Post # 5
How did you pay the deposit? If you used PayPal or credit card, you may be able to dispute with them.
Post # 6
This is horrible! Best of luck to you!
Post # 7
@EffieTrinket: +1 – good point on the cc and paypal!
Post # 8
@EffieTrinket: Unfortunately we didn’t use paypal or a credit card, but sent him the money via a cheque.
Post # 10
[Post moderated for self promotion]
Post # 11
@Your Lovely Wedding you are not allowed to self promote on this board.
@DoubleWeddingRaa Where is this photographer based? Does he have a physical studio? Have you made it clear that you cannot book anything until you get it back? Like others mentioned before if you paid by CC or Paypal you can do a charge back, although this may not give you the time you need.
Post # 12
Contact a lawyer in the US and have them draft a letter demanding return of the deposit and threatening legal action.
Also, if he has a registered business, check the public records in his general area to find out if he has filed for bankruptcy or has other lawsuits pending.
Post # 13
Sorry I didn’t read that you paid by cheque. I would contact a lawyer in the state that the photog is based in. At least send a certified letter saying that you need to have your deposit returned within 30 days or you will proceed with a lawsuit. I would contact a lawyer just to see what rights you have first though.
Post # 14
Do you have a friend who is a lawyer? I would send him an email and copy a friend/lawyer. Say something like:
“Per the terms of our contract, my deposit needs to be returned to me. If I do not receive the deposit back by we will start legal proceedings. My lawyer is copied on this email and will be sending you a copy of this letter via certified mail.”
obviously I’m not a lawyer, so you might want someone else to read over it!
Post # 15
@DoubleWeddingRaa: This is going to be very sticky since you’re in different countries. Can you copy and paste the exact language on your cancellation clause in the contract and also if it mentions anything about where court arbitration would need to take place in the event that it came to that? If the contract refers to it having to be arbitrated in his specific state there may be nothing you can do to compel him to pay you in a timely manner since he likely knows how difficult it would be for you to travel to where he is and pursue a court case.
Aside from that, did the photographer explain what was going on? Is his blog still active or does it seem like he’s fallen off the face of the earth? I’m just wondering if something has happened and he has gone bankrupt, in which case you would likely not be able to get the money back no matter what you do. I hope this all works out for you!
Post # 16
File a complaint with the Better Business Bureau – they will make a judgement. If he doesn’t give you back your money, he will get a permanent mark on his business record.