5 On Your Side

No Refund to Bride's Mother When Wedding Called Off

Posted October 23, 2007

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— When Sarah Gomez pulls out her daughter’s wedding dress, it makes her sad.

“She loved this dress, yes. She loved that wild orchid, and everything was gonna be done in wild orchid,” said Gomez.

Instead, her daughter's wedding was canceled. Even though her daughter won't ever wear the dress, Gomez did get what she paid for. That's not the case with another company involved with the wedding, however.

Last March, Gomez hired Digital Media Concepts of Fayetteville to photograph and videotape the September wedding, as well as to provide a DJ at the reception.

The total cost was more than $2,400. Gomez paid owner Maurice Corbett an $1,100 deposit to "reserve the date," then paid the rest by June, even though it wasn't due until Sept. 1. She was happy to check one more thing off her list.

“Great. It's over with. Big relief. I'm finished. I've got that done. All I have to do is pay for the food at the reception,” Gomez recalled thinking.

However, when the wedding was canceled in August, Gomez called Corbett. She expected to lose the 50 percent deposit because the contract says the company "does not give refunds." But she felt he should get back the rest.

“He said, ‘Well, I'm real sorry about the wedding.’ He said, ‘but there's nothing I can do,’” said Gomez. “So I said, ‘You're not gonna offer me anything back at all?’ And he goes, ‘no.’”

After further conversation, Corbett offered to videotape a commercial and take pictures at her day care, but Gomez says she didn’t need that.

She suggested a compromise, she said.

“I said, ‘OK, if we can't have anything back, then I want the DJ and photographer to come to our house on that day because we're gonna have a big party. We're gonna have a lot of out-of-state guests still coming.’”

The reply, Gomez said, was, “No I'm not gonna do that.’ ” said Gomez.

When 5 On Your Side asked Corbett about playing at the party, he said, "I don't recall that," laughed and added, "Excuse me if I missed that."

In a later conversation, he claimed Gomez had never asked and said that if she had, it "wouldn't have been a problem."

Corbett said he can't refund any of her money because he had to pay his people.

“I understand 50 percent deposit. And you get that date. So I understand that he should get at least 50 percent, but I don't see him getting all of it for doing nothing,” said Gomez.

Corbett says Gomez owed the full amount no matter what.

A couple of things could have helped. The contract could have been more specific. For example, it could have specified how much money would be lost if Gomez canceled. Gomez should have put her request to play at the party in writing and sent it by certified mail.

63 Comments

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  • Offshore Oct 25, 2007

    Maybe the daughter should buck up and pay the Mom back for the damages. There has to be some responsibility passed onto her.

  • mommy2caroline Oct 25, 2007

    I thought the only place you got paid to not work was in government? Tee hee!

  • whatelseisnew Oct 25, 2007

    Yep they kept all the money and probably did another wedding on that day. Seems like there are no honest people out there anymore. 50% no return deposit was fair. If she canceled with almost no notice then I could see wanting the whole fee, because they might not have been able to fill the opening. Well at least the next person will no better then to pay in advance.

  • GoodToGo Oct 25, 2007

    Love my boys...where in the world did you find a photographer for that..I had to pay 4 times that much for a wedding...I'd love the name for anything I have in the future>>>>>>

  • Love my boys Oct 25, 2007

    That's why I hired a private photographer for my wedding. AND it only cost $400.00 for over 300 images that were put on CD and I have the copyrights to them forever! I will be willing to show them to anyone who asks - she done a fantastic job!

  • brownneck Oct 25, 2007

    Digital Media Concept of Fayetteville just wants to make a fast buck. At least half of the total deposit should be refunded. He has not done anything towards the wedding. Lessons learned. The contract should have not been paid in full.

  • bill0 Oct 25, 2007

    If you sign up and it says "no refunds" guess what? There are no refunds. If you don't think that is a reasonable term, you can try to negotiate a different term up front or go with a different company. You don't sign the contract and then try to back out of it later.

    I'm sure the same people complaining in this thread would take the exact opposite position if the "business" backed out a month before the wedding. I'm sure you would say that a month is not nearly enough time to find another good photographer and DJ. Guess what? It's too short of a time for the company to find another wedding or event. Weddings are booked many months, if not a year, in advance.

  • HappyGirl08 Oct 25, 2007

    So let me get this right? The mother wasn't going to get any refund at all because the owner had to pay the workers for their jobs at the wedding that wasn't going to happen. HOW can I get a job where I can be paid and not have to actually go do the work? Sounds crazy to me.

  • 2beornot2be Oct 25, 2007

    I don't know many businesses who pay people when they don't have to work. Sounds like the owner put the money in his pocket, then scheduled another job, so he doubled dipped. I'd be sure to bet that the employees weren't paid 2x their normal salary for this. There is absolutely NO REASON why he wouldn't have been able to play on the date she reserved regardless of where it was at. Our xmas party at work was cancelled due to freezing rain a couple of years ago. The DJ was not nice about the cancellation and no refund was given, but he was able to provide his services on another date at our office. It wasn't ideal, but it was a compromise. NEVER PREPAY 100% FOR SERVICES including home repairs and builders. Pay your minimums as you go. One less stress today may be forfeiture tomorrow.

  • pidwilli Oct 25, 2007

    problably scheduled his resources on that date after she cancelled. That's just wrong, they had hoped to get paid for nothing and now she calls them out for it.

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