Post # 16
OP – try looking for lawyers who offer a free consultation at this point.My husband had an employement issue and we were able to find a handful of lawyers to look at his case and give their advice. Any actual “work” from them would have cost money (writing a letter, etc), but hearing them lay out what the legal options were was very helpful.
I disagree with the pp who said $3700 isnt worth it. Maybe some folks are rolling in cash and $3700 isnt a lot to them, but thats actually 3 months of mortgage payments for me. Just flat out throwing that money in the trash without even trying to look for it is NOT something I’d do.
Post # 17
I get what you’re saying, I just have known many people during this time dealing with venue issues and none have been successful in their fights. I will also say that these venues often have people in different departments not talking to each other; I was in the process of postponing and told by my event coordinator I wouldn’t owe another dime until I got a new date finalized, and in the meantime got a bill for a 25% payment payable in two weeks. So I wouldn’t think too much into you asking to be told if it was rebooked, someone probably wrote it down and then someone else saw that it wasn’t of equal or greater value and didn’t think it was necessary to tell you. But I can see why it seems questionable. I also may be jaded bc I live in a HCOL area where these venues seem to be very cutthroat and are used to having 5+ weddings a week averaging 50k+ per wedding, 52 weeks a year, so they are hurting a lot and not providing any sympathy. I wish you luck.
Post # 18
Just so you know, pursuing a claim in small claims court IS pursuing a civil case against the venue. They are being sued and you are suing them if that is the route you choose. Small claims court is just a separate court and is meant to eliminate claims of lesser value from clogging up the district courts but it is absolutely still pursing a lawsuit against another party.
Post # 19
I’m confused- if this isn’t an all inclusive venue where they charge per head, why does it matter what size the wedding is that rebooked? If they booked the event space, shouldn’t it be the same cost no matter how many people, if I understood that correctly, and it is infact just the space, and you were paying all of the vendors seperately? I just don’t get how the equal or lesser value comes in here when it’s just the physical space?
Post # 20
it’s definitely 1.5x mortgage payment for us. The money is spent, so I can’t say we’re hurting for it, but it would be nice to recoup at least a portion of it. Thanks for understanding!
We’re not in a HCOL area, but that’s understandable for sure. I’m trying to be a bit reasonable as well considering they fired the previous event director, so maybe some communication was lost. I didn’t direct any negativity towards them when they said it. Apparently she was in the business of shady practices (per their words to us). If we have to eat the cost, that’s just a loss we have to take and one we were originally prepared for before finding out new information anyway. Thanks for the response and well wishes.
that makes sense! I think I was a little confused when someone said something earlier about me going small claims, so I didn’t know if maybe I used the work terminology in my original post. I’m not savvy at all when it comes to anything legal, so appreciate the context!
Post # 21
They had a package for ceremonies which included tables, chairs and the sound system. We also had to get the bar through them, but everything else was going to go through vendors that we selected on our own. That was one of the reasons we chose that venue was the flexibility to use our own vendors to control cost. I’m guessing the bar is what really drove most of the cost.
Post # 22
So seeing the actual clause that you posted, honestly I don’t think you’re going to have a leg to stand on. It clearly states “equal or greater value”. While yes, weddings that are large might not be allowed, that doesn’t mean someone else wouldn’t continue on with their wedding at a reduced rate while still paying the price. As a vendor, I see it all the time. Venues that have a minimum catering requirement, but the wedding ends up having less guests than anticipated, so the couple adds extras to their food/beverage to meet the minimum even if it’s overkill for their guest list. The venue is going to aruge that they could have booked that date with a couple who would have opted to postpone to a future date OR continue with the wedding at reduced numbers.
How would it have made a difference if you knew the date was booked but didn’t meet the terms to recieve a refund? You’d still be mad, as you are now. They aren’t obligated to let you know they’re rebooked the date – unless of course it’s with a wedding that does meet the requirements for you to recieve a refund.
I get it. This whole situation has been incredibly stressful and shitty for both couples and brides. Did you purchase wedding insurance? While *new* bookings of insurance aren’t being covered for Covid cancellations (because it’s considered a “known event”) I know many couples, including some of my own clients, who were able to get money back because they’d purchased wedding insurance at the beginning of planning….pre-covid. A lot of people use the arugment “well who could have predicuted a pandemic?” and while that’s true…no one predicts any of the reasons they might need to cancel their wedding. Death of family, severe illness, moving, breakup, etc.
Post # 24
You already cancelled. They booked a smaller event. There’s nothing to sue over. Don’t waste more money on attorneys or court fees.
At best, try to negotiate applying the deposit for an event on a future date.
Post # 25
Hate to say it, but you guys probably don’t have a leg to stand on, as you already canceled aka you accepted that you are taking a chance that the date may or may not get rebooked. Your only argument in court would be that due to covid, the probability of another 200 person event happening wouldn’t happen. Do I think that their clause about “equal value” is ridiculous? You betcha. But it won’t change the fact that you signed the contract accepting that policy when you booked AND canceled your event. It’s not worth the legal battle here.
Post # 26
I think it’s definitely worth contacting a lawyer. You should be able to get a consultation at a minimal cost. Some attorneys will consult for free, while others will provide a discount from their normal rate – in my area, it is usually $100 or less for an initial consultation where the attorney will lay out your options.
It seems like there may be a lot of non-attorney bees giving what amounts to legal advice in this thread. No one should be commenting on whether or not your case has legal value without reviewing your full contract (not just one clause).
Post # 27
Thanks everyone for your responses. We have an attorney willing to review and let us know if we have a leg to stand on under the current conditions. While we understand and are fully prepared to take a total loss, I don’t want to do that without at least seeing what our options are. The attorney will review and if he thinks we have a case, he will draft up a letter on our behalf and send it to the venue.
Thanks for everyone’s input! Much appreciated. I will leave this open for the time being to come back and provide an update before closing the thread.
Post # 28
Hey Bees! It’s been a while, but wanted to come back with an update as promised and let you all know that we’re getting 100% of the deposit refunded, less the attorney’s cut.
After sending the attorney the signed contract and emails between us and the venue, it was determined that the venue breached the contract. A few reasons: We didn’t give permission to rebook; they are not able to uphold the contractual terms due to the city’s 50% capacity limit at venues during this time (meaning there was slim to no chance to ever rebook with an event of equal or greater value); and lastly, our state has an Act that protects consumers from deceptive business practices. The way that their non-refund policy is written allows them to “double dip” and keep initial deposits, plus whatever deposits and money made from events that are rebooked.
If anyone else is in a similar situation, please seek out an attorney. We worked under a contingency basis with the attorney which means we only had to pay if we recouped any of the refund. In this case, we pay them 1/3 of the money recovered. The co-founder of the venue responded in less than a week and immediately apologized and offered a full refund.
This pandemic has devastated so many of us physically, financially, and emotionally while taking away our loved ones and altering the moments that many of us dreamt about since childhood. I’m sooo glad we decided to pursue this and hope it encourages someone else to try to recover whatever money they can.