(Closed) Lawyer Bees – Can a vendor really enforce a non refundable deposit?

posted 6 years ago in Legal
Post # 3
Member
233 posts
Helper bee

@soy:  I’m not a lawyer but a deposits a deposit I would say. Myself and OH had originally booked our wedding in 2009 for the following year but had to cancel 9 months before due to unforeseen circumstance. We lost alll our deposits even though they were simply to secure the date and no work was done. It it says in the contract its non returnable then thats the way it is otherwise people could change their minds about vendors at any stage.

Post # 4
Member
404 posts
Helper bee

I would talk to the florists asap. Just to see what that means, it may be that they’re covering themselves for people who back out like a week before.

Other than that I have zero idea.

Post # 6
Member
2640 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: April 2014 - Italian Villa

I’m not a lawyer, but I would tend to agree with you on this one. It definitely makes sense for people who actually need to be there and block out a chunk of time for your wedding (photog, planner, etc), but not so much for floral. However, some flower shops come to your site to set up flowers for you, so it is entirely possible that they actually did need to block out some time for that. Also, potentially they got asked to do 11 weddings for that day and could only fit 10 in their schedule to make the arrangements. If you were one of the 10 brides who made it in and then cancelled, bride 11 probably already moved on to a different flower shop and they would in fact be out the money for that order.

I would find it hard to believe that they would get too busy to fit in every wedding that comes their way, so unless they are the type that deliver flowers and/or set them up, I agree that a non-refundable deposit seems silly. Maybe they are just a more “exclusive” shop that feels any time they have spent discussing your wants and needs (even just a brief mention of colors) is worth that $500.

Post # 7
Member
233 posts
Helper bee

@soy:  We cancelled 9 months ahead of time so our vendors could easily rebook the date and it was a Saturday in July so they would have no problem. We still lost the money because we signed the contracts.

I’ll be interested to hear from a legal perspective too.

Post # 8
Member
955 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

I”m not a lawyer, but I am a paralegal.  (So I cannot dispense legal advise.)

 

Have you signed a contract?

What state are you in?

Were you aware that this was a non-refundable deposit when you signed the contract?

Is there any cancellation clause in your contract?

 

 

Post # 10
Member
8663 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2012

Generally the whole point of a deposit is so you don’t cancel on them. Unfortunately I doubt you will get the money back, and even if you tried I think it would probably cost you more than the $500 to drag them through court.

Post # 11
Member
333 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: April 2016

I’m not a lawyer either, but if you did not actually sign a contract, I can’t see them getting away with keeping your deposit. 

Post # 13
Member
955 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

@soy:  I don’t have access to NY-ADC, but I did find this off the NY-BBB website:

 

New York state law allows businesses to set whatever refund or cancellation policy they desire. Do not assume that if you cancel a contract, you will receive a 100% refund. Be sure that you are aware of refund or cancellation policies before you sign a contract and that the terms are completely spelled out in the written contract. Also, try to keep deposits as small as possible as they are often non-refundable. Smaller deposits may mean less money lost if there is a change in plans.

Here’s what i would do:  you haven’t signed any contract, weren’t told that the deposit was non-refundable, so I would call the florist, and alert them of that fact.  I would also ask for the deposit back.

If they refuse, then you can petition in small claims court.  

Just out of curiosity, how did you pay this deposit?  Was it check, cash or credit card?  If it was paid using credit card, you can easily call your card number and have the charge reversed, but that may prompt the florist to take you to court.  It’s always best to be the plaintiff, then you’re in the driver’s seat, so to speak.

Post # 14
Member
955 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

@soy:  Not only can you peittion for your entire $500 deposit in small claims, but you can also ask for them to pay the additional $25 filing fee.

 

 

Post # 16
Member
13288 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

I’m not a lawyer, but if you signed a legally binding contract that says there is a non-refundable deposit, I think they are legally allowed to keep it, regardless of they lost business or not.  That’s the point of a contract – to point out the rules that protect each party.  You may be able to work something out with the vendor to get a portion of the deposit back, but I don’t think you have a case given you already signed a contract and ageed to the terms.

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