(Closed) Question on what to do about my Photographer…

posted 6 years ago in Photos/Videos
Post # 3
394 posts
Helper bee

I hate to tell you this, but you have little to no recource on this. First off, you should never give a vendor money without a contract. Secondly, deposits [in the wedding industry] are usually non-refundable. 

If there were a contract, the deposit would be hers to keep, legally speaking since you cancelled the services. Since there was no contract in place it becomes a “he said/she said” situation. Your only real chance at getting it back at this point is if you take her to small claims court. Even then you will need some sort of proof of the exchange. Do you have any emails between the two of you stating that you are hiring her or that you paid her any money? If you do, print them and save them because they are your best shot at getting your money back. If you do file a small claims court case, it will cost you money upfront, make sure you include these fees in the total you are seeking the photographer to pay ($100 + small claims court fees). 

Post # 4
1414 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

I doubt that you can get the deposit back…..sorry.

Post # 5
622 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2014

@LLRininger:  I hate to say this but legally she has every right to keep it – that’s how deposits work, especially in the wedding industry. Be thankful your deposit was only $100 – mine is $1,000 and most are much much higher. Small claims is a waste of time and money when it’s a $100 dispute.

Post # 6
613 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

I have to agree with the other bees. First and foremost you should of had a signed contract when you put your initial deposit down. Secondly, if you do cancel services with  a wedding vendor, the deposits are (legally) typically non-refundable. 

With our photography contract, even if we cancelled services..our deposit would be non-refundable AND we would still owe the remaining balance. 


Small claims court would be worthless for a mere $100, especially when it would a  verbal “He said/she said” dispute.  

Post # 7
1274 posts
Bumble bee

I don’t think you are going to get your money back here. Just be thankful it’s not $500 or more. Legally, nothing was signed…a verbal contract may stand up somewhere but in the wedding and photography industry specifically…it tends to be non-refundable once a date is booked/contract signed. 

Sucky, but it’s a good lesson to learn going forward with other vendors, make sure you get a receipt for deposits and money paid and get a contract. And you have plenty of time if you want to book someone else! 

Post # 8
6544 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: September 2012

Eat the $100 deposit and find a different photographer. Having no contract means that you have little to no recourse. Like someone else said, just be happy it’s only $100 – most are way more than that. 

Post # 9
1471 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: April 2012

thats what a deposit is for, to save the vendor, if you back out you lose your deposit, thats how it works everywhere!!  its only $100 if you dont want to use her cut your losses and move on!

next time make sure 110% that you want that particular vendor b/4 putting down a deposit

Post # 10
2697 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

Unfortunately, she has every legal right to keep it. Thats what a deposit is for. FWIW, I would have cancelled as well, but you aren’t getting your money back.

Post # 11
13013 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

I agree with PPs… the deposit is for her to hold the date.  Even with no contract, you have no legal right to get the money back.

Post # 12
1405 posts
Bumble bee

She doesn’t have the right to keep your deposit unless the contract specifically says so.  Deposits for services are not automatically considered to be non refundable unless your binding contracts says so.  The wedding industry brain washes us into thinking this is the norm and it is because all the contracts reflect this.  Without a contract, it’s iffy, but you have a chance of collecting if you can prove you paid her the money (check?). 

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