5 On Your Side

No Refund to Bride's Mother When Wedding Called Off

Posted October 23, 2007 6:52 p.m. EDT
Updated October 23, 2007 7:08 p.m. EDT

— 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.