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Cancelled Wedding

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

I just got a letter in the mail that the bride is cancelling her wedding and wants her deposit back.  My contract clearly states 'non-refundable' deposit.  What should I do?  I feel bad that the wedding is cancelled but giving her money back is going against my own contract.  Has anyone else been in this situation?  What have you done?  Thanks!  Oh, and the wedding was for next spring and I didn't have to turn down anyone else on that date.

post #2 of 17

Hi ya,

 

I have not be in a similar situation to what to you find yourself in...but a contract is a contract period!

 

Assuming that the Bride was notified/made aware of the non refundable deposit, the contract is valid.

 

What you could do if you want to that is - is to offer her a discount against a future order but by no means offer a refund, otherwise as you quite rightly stated you will be going against your own ruling/contract.

 

Did the Bride sign a contract of some sort?

Does it reflect the aspect of that there be a non refundable due to cancellation?

Is there a time scale for cancellation?

Does the contract have a guideline as to how much money could be refunded if the customer pays in full?
 


Edited by Nixs247 - 12/3/12 at 8:58am

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The Sky is the Limit... If you ARE prepared to fly.

 

Success is not a destination...it's a journey.

 

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post #3 of 17

Personally I am fairly flexible on deposit refunds. It does state in my policy that the deposit is non refundable but  it is rare that anyone requires a refund to start with.

If I have not yet ordered any specific equipment etc and have not turned away work I would probably give a full refund. if it was nearer the time and I hadn't incurred costs but may have put time into planning or turned down work I would probably give a partial refund.

Amanda xx

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Visit my blog, Crumbtales or have a look at my gallery of amazing cakes at amandamacleod

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post #4 of 17

"Dear Bride,

I am sorry to hear that your wedding will no longer be taking place.  As is is stated in section 5 (or wherever it is in your contract) of the contract you signed, your deposit is not refundable. 

Sincerely,

 

It's unfortunate, but it is not your problem the wedding was cancelled.  You need to enforce your contract, otherwise there's no point in having one.  If you want to allow her to apply the balance to another order that would be an option but I wouldn't feel obligated to.

 

Her other vendors are probably not refunding her money.

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Tact is telling someone where to go so nicely they can't wait to take the trip!
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post #5 of 17
Since there is still plenty of advance notice you can return some or all of the deposit with no cost to yourself (as a one-time exception to your existing policy) and gain the lasting favor of the customer for their next event by going above and beyond their expectations.

Or you can keep the deposit and provide an average customer experience.

Another alternative is to apply the amount of the deposit toward another order.
Edited by jason_kraft - 12/3/12 at 9:38am
post #6 of 17

After 12 years in the wedding biz, yes cancellations happen.  No I do not give the money back.  Wedding vendors do not give back deposits, especially non-refundable deposits.

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Answers to the most often asked questions re: SPS. SPS instructions are on Page 15 of the Sticky at the top of the Cake Decorating Forum. Supplies can be ordered from Oasis Supply, Global or BakeryCrafts.
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post #7 of 17
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the feedback.  The contract that shows the money break down does state 'non refundable deposit' and shows the deposit amount.  The written part of the contract also states that if it was paid in full, then if notified prior to 60 days, the money would be fully refunded less the non refundable deposit.  I guess I better keep my business hat on and stick to my contract.  Thanks everyone!

post #8 of 17

What you need to know as a business person is that you have already provided a service for the deposit.  It guaranteed that no one else would take her spot on her day.  It also guaranteed that you would be working on her order, not someone else.  You may have done sketches, a tasting, taken and received calls and other thingsfor this client while not pursuing other business interests.  That's what a deposit does.

 

As a business the money was earned.  It goes toward overhead and all of the incidentals along the way to getting full payment on a cake.  As a person, it is OK to feel bad that things didn't work out.  As a business owner, it is also OK to keep the non-refundable deposit because it is in your contract.  Two completely different things.

post #9 of 17

Stick to your contract.  My dh’s cousin cancelled her wedding and while they asked for refunds for everything that they had put down deposits on or tried to return things they’d already purchased they didn’t get them.  She was able to recoup some of her money by selling her gown and other wedding related items.  They weren’t upset about it.  The issues surrounding the decision to cancel the wedding were more important than the $$$.  Now my dh’s cousin is not your customer so who knows how they will take the news but I’m sure anyone else they’ve given deposits too will turn them down as well.

post #10 of 17

I've only had a couple of cancellations.  One of them was still several months away and because she was the stepdaughter of a friend, I offered her the deposit back.  No problem, I felt fine about it.  THEN, several months later they decided to get married at a later date and chose another baker without even contacting me.  Sooooo, no more favors. 

 

So yes, stick to your contract!
 

post #11 of 17
Quote:

What you need to know as a business person is that you have already provided a service for the deposit.  It guaranteed that no one else would take her spot on her day.  It also guaranteed that you would be working on her order, not someone else.  You may have done sketches, a tasting, taken and received calls and other thingsfor this client while not pursuing other business interests.  That's what a deposit does.

 

As a business the money was earned.  It goes toward overhead and all of the incidentals along the way to getting full payment on a cake.  As a person, it is OK to feel bad that things didn't work out.  As a business owner, it is also OK to keep the non-refundable deposit because it is in your contract.  Two completely different things.

This. thumbs_up.gif

post #12 of 17

Another thing to think about is that MAYBE she didn't cancel the wedding but decided to not go through with the cake. Could be for any reason...inadequate funds, decided to go somewhere else, the list goes on.  Not at all meaning to imply that your work isn't awesome...just that people can be fickle. I just don't always trust people. She could have thought to herself that you would return her deposit if she made you feel sorry for her. 

 

If it were me, I would tell her that you cannot refund it, but will apply it toward a future order.

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post #13 of 17

If you can rebook the date I'd be flexible about it. You didn't say how much it was, but if it's half the cost of the cake that's one thing. If it's only $50 or $100 or something like that then you should keep all or part of it to cover your time and samples etc. that you've already done.

 

Sometimes when you return deposits or part of them it's no skin off your nose, and it also makes the client more apt to refer you to someone else. I'd make sure you point out that the deposit is non-refundable per the contract, but since it's a date that you can re-book you will make an exception for her and return X amount, other than what covers your time up to that point.

post #14 of 17

Way back when I started, I did a couple of refunds on deposits, I just felt so bad for the bride if she gave me a sad story. What a wake up call I had when one of my brides requested her deposit back, "supposedly" the groom had left her high and dry for another girl, I did the refund only to see her wedding announcement in the paper a week after her date. I did a little detective work with a couple of the other vendors only to find out one of her relatives took a cake course and offered to do the cake as a wedding gift...the kicker...that marriage didn't last and when she once again became engaged, guess who she came to for her wedding cake. I got the feeling she didn't think I would remember her, but once I highlited and had her initial the non refundable deposit clause, she knew I certainly did remember her!

post #15 of 17

Always call it a "retainer" and not a "deposit".  People perceive deposits as refundable and the change in wording (as it truly is a retainer) will help you be firm.

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