Post # 1
We booked the venue for our reception back in November for our October 2008 wedding. It is a small restaurant, not a chain. I was perusing their website the other day and decided to look at our menu options. I noticed that the price had changed from $XX/head for 3 courses including dessert to $XX/head without dessert or $XX+$7/head with dessert.
I emailed our contact at the restaurant to confirm that our prices would remain the same as when we signed the contract and they came back saying that the prices are always subject to change, it is the right of any establishment. If prices for our products increases we cannot just eat that difference. Nowhere on the contract we signed does it state that prices are subject to change. While our contract does not state the actual per head price on it, we checked which menu option we wanted and the menu which was an attached document quoted the price. I assumed that by signing the contract, I would be getting it for that price. Is this unusual?
I have emailed back a very firm but not overdramatic response telling them that for a 150 person reception this $7 increase pushes up our costs by $1050 and that we are working on a budget and cannot just blindly accept increases like this.
What should I do? I’m hoping that they’ll realize their contract should state prices are subject to change if they are going to change them and that they’ll come back to me and concede the increase. But I’m worried about what to do if they don’t. We have already sent out save the dates and told everyone about where we’re having our reception, and it’s on our wedding website. Do I threaten to walk away and make the point that losing my $500 deposit would be less than the $1050 increase they’re trying to spring on me? Do I talk to the owner?
Post # 3
OMG. i say you talk to the owner. that really is ridiculous! I recently postoned my wedding by nearly 6months, which takes it into 2009. I know that their prices will change by that time (it has actually already changed since we first booked), but they assured me that I would be getting the original prices we had seen when we signed our contract. I do not think you are being unreasonable to think you would be paying the prices on the menu you have attached to your contract. Just be firm but polite… Good luck!
Post # 4
Yeah if it’s not IN the actual contract then they can’t expect you to "know it" – that’s what the contract is for.
I’ve found in the few times I’ve had to get stearn with a vendor for various reasons, reminding them that I will call the BBB, always gets them to listen a little bit more clearly. That and once I actually had to ask my attorny for adivce about something about a contract (because I could get a free advice from him, and most over the phone will give you a consult for free too) and when I mentioned that they agreed they were being unreasonable….some places push buttons because they don’t expect customers to really try to resolve it, but rather just pay in the end.
I say refuse the increase, your prices are clearly stated and it’s not in the contract that prices are subject to change, they can’t hold you to it.They know that, they just want to get you for more. It’s like my dress shop coming back for $300 more after the fact because the dress is more popular now.
Post # 5
Ok, take a deep breath and relax. If your contract does not state that the prices are subject to change then they are as listed on the menu that was attached to your contract at the time. The only problem you may have is if the price list says that it is subject to change. They may try to use this as an issue, but if you signed the contract at that price then it should be locked in. Chances are the person you spoke with did not know what was really going on.
However, you do need to meet with the manager and have them sign off on that price sheet so that there are no further questions. They should also provide you with an addenedum to the contract stating the full price for the day. This should include any extras like beverage and linen costs and it should also note any price for staying longer than contracted for. Any included gratuity and tax should be on the contract.
If your contact is not the manager be sure to request to have both at your next meeting and schedule one right away. Do not go alone. Bring your Fiance or a Bridesmaid or Best Man or a parent so that you have a witness if things do not go the way you want and you do need to contact a lawyer (or a friend who can "represent you"). Also, it is always good to have some moral support.
If you have issues with the manager as well, just mention that you will be happy to pass the issue on to your lawyer. And will discourage any other brides on the blogs from using thier space. This can be risky because they may just offer to return your deposit. If there is plenty of time to find a new venue and the invitations haven’t been ordered with the current venue on them then go for it. Vendors have a tendency to take advatage fo brides because they are so emotionaly attached to what is going on that they don’t always think clearly or are willing to pay extra just to get what they want. $1050 is not a small chunk of change when you are on smaller budget for the wedding.
If you are worried about slander all you have to do is keep it vague and say you had a very bad experience due to a disagreement about the price and were forced to find a new venue at the last minute. Which is not slander but the truth without specifics and not something they can argue with.
Post # 6
The functions manager emailed me back and said that they are willing to meet halfway and only increase by $3 per head and hold that price firm until the wedding. Now I still don’t know what to do. It is a small restaurant, so the only person I’ve talked to is the manager and the only person higher than her is the owner.
I’m scared to threaten going to the BBB or a lawyer because I don’t want them to say "here’s your deposit back, have a nice day." I love the space and I really don’t want to go anywhere else. I can be stern by email, but I know if I had to talk on the phone or in person about this I’d just end up being a crying mess because I’m so upset.
But I have a compromise idea. Originally we were going to use the dessert that came with the menu in place of cake and bring in a small 2 tiered cake just for us to cut for show. This was mostly to avoid a $2/head plating fee they have for bringing in an outside cake (they do not do cakes on site). So, low cost for cake and no plating fee.
Now they’re saying that their compromise is paying $3 more per person with dessert. What if I ask the compromise to be the current price without dessert, we’ll pay for a larger cake, and ask them to waive the plating fee? Does this sound reasonable?
Post # 7
I had a similar situation occur with one of the venues I looked at. I would look over the paperwork to make sure that it doesn’t say "prices subject to change" ANYWHERE… in the contract, on the pricelist, etc. I don’t think it’s fair for you to "comprimise" in this situation because you were never informed that prices could go up (or down… but how likely does that happen?).
I talked to one of my friends in the catering business and he said that businesses usually do have the right to increase the prices, but not without stating so in any documentation.
Good luck! Let us know how it goes.
Post # 8
I would try to go in and talk to the owner in person (since it seems you are doing much of the "talking" via email).