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Thread: To Refund or not to Refund that is the question?

  1. #1
    Join Date
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    To Refund or not to Refund that is the question?

    I scheduled a bride nearly two years ago for a wedding coming this summer (August 18). At the time that I reserved this date she also gave me a $400.00 deposit.

    This past week I received an email from the bride saying the wedding is off. In her email were these words "I know I have paid you a deposit, but please let me know if we are able to leave the payment at that and if there is anything further I can assist with terminating services"

    One option tells me I should refund the entire $400.00, just because I'm generally just a good business person that sympathizes with her situation, plus I have plenty of time to reschedule the date. Three months away.

    Second, just split the deposit amount, $200.00 refund, I'll feel Ok about meeting her half way considering the predicament.

    Third, she clearly stated in her email that she is fine without expecting any amount of the deposit in return. So, why not keep the payment?

    Which would you do or something entirely differently than these three choices?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by mound of sound View Post
    I scheduled a bride nearly two years ago for a wedding coming this summer (August 18). At the time that I reserved this date she also gave me a $400.00 deposit.

    This past week I received an email from the bride saying the wedding is off. In her email were these words "I know I have paid you a deposit, but please let me know if we are able to leave the payment at that and if there is anything further I can assist with terminating services"

    One option tells me I should refund the entire $400.00, just because I'm generally just a good business person that sympathizes with her situation, plus I have plenty of time to reschedule the date. Three months away.

    Second, just split the deposit amount, $200.00 refund, I'll feel Ok about meeting her half way considering the predicament.

    Third, she clearly stated in her email that she is fine without expecting any amount of the deposit in return. So, why not keep the payment?

    Which would you do or something entirely differently than these three choices?
    Keep the dough, let her off on the balance, and go make mo'

    I count slightly over 4 months to go at minimum to reach an August date. How did you get 3? Let's start with April 1 to simplify the calculation
    Heavy weight lifter, karate, oh, I DJ too. Life is good!

  3. #3
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    four months, that's correct

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2001
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    New Orleans
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    13,843
    What does the signed contract state regarding refunding?
    Rocky 'djrox' Bourg
    Father/Husband/Son/Brother/American

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    central jersey, nj
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    I never keep anything more than the deposit unless we are less than 60 days from the event (at which point planning has begun).

  6. #6
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by djrox View Post
    What does the signed contract state regarding refunding?
    What he ^^^^ said. Be careful not to set a business precedent outside of your contract. That WILL bite you in the butt one day. Not maybe. WILL !
    Cap Capello, Musical Host
    Celebrating a 39th Year of an ongoing Mobile DJ Career
    Bose L1 & F1 & S1 Systems
    (518) 399-7451 EDT
    http://www.imadj.com

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    Their is no point in asking for a deposit if you intend to refund it . I only refund a deposit where there is some tragic situation usually medical or death related. The other option i offer sometimes is transfer of the deposit to another date within a specified timeframe and subject to my availability.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Greenville, SC
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    234
    The deposit was to: reserve the date, cover your acquisition cost, and pay for anytime you spent on that particular client (conversations, planning, etc.) I was shocked when I spent the time to actually see what my acquisition per client was... I am a part timer ( 20 events per year) but that actually drives up my acquisition costs.... about $75 per event.

    Even if you rebook that date you occurred some costs.

    On the other hand, I have fully refunded on occasion: 1) Car wreck the week of, groom broke his leg so they cancelled the wedding, 2) Groom got called to South Korea 10 days before the wedding (he had 48 hrs to ship out).

    My acquisition cost calc: (Memberships, Service fees, bidding fees, advertising, materials, bridal shows, venue listing fees)/booked clients

  9. #9
    She hasn't asked for a refund so, why are you ready to make one? As a general rule you should not be paying people who have not asked for any money.

    If you book that date with an invoice equal or greater than hers - then there exists legal grounds for a refund of the deposit regardless of any language in your contract. That's just the nature of this business. At $400 that's never going to be an issue. Most people will accept that as liquidated damages, especially two years later. When your deposits come to be at least 10 or 20 times that amount - then yes, you need to be prepared to pro-rate refunds against the billable invoices gained in the wake of a cancellation.

    You don't have that legal concern here, just a guilty conscience - get over it.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Cleveland, OH
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    4,415
    As others have stated, what does your agreement say?
    It sounds like the bride thinks she signed something that obligated her to additional funds bring due and is asking to be released of the amount due.
    Scott Hanna, American Entertainment
    wedding dj in cleveland
    440-398-9910 or 877-THE-DJ-4-U
    www.djincleveland.com

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 1999
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    Indiana, Pennsylvania, United States
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    For me there would be no refunds (unless you actually called it a deposit and not a retainer fee). The only way i return retainer fees is as follows.

    1. Military reasons
    2. Death in the family
    3. Any extreme natural causes
    4. Or if I were to re book the event date at the same or higher rate.

    My 2 cents

    Mixmaster
    Mike Miller
    "The Mixmaster"
    Mixmaster Professional DJ Services
    http://www.themixmaster.net
    http://www.facebook.com/MixmasterDJService

  12. #12
    It also should be noted, I have never regretted any refunds of deposit I may have made over the years. The resulting good will, returning customers, and referrals, have always resulted in a far higher value than could have been realized by keeping that small amount of one-time cash.

    Evaluate every request on it's own individual merits. There are no contract terms that can outweigh the value of good judgement and fair treatment.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Proformance View Post
    It also should be noted, I have never regretted any refunds of deposit I may have made over the years.
    April fool's already passed.
    Heavy weight lifter, karate, oh, I DJ too. Life is good!

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 1999
    Location
    Tyler, TX
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    Keep the payment. She's rented space for that date for 2 years. That is worth something. Keeping the retainer in full also helps cover the events you didn't collect a balance after a cancellation, or any other time you got screwed and missed opportunity to book a date. Some times you have to leave the feelings at the door and run your business. What's the point of collecting a retainer if you fall for their story and give the money back when they cancel.

    I never chase a wedding that is more than 14 months out. They are more likely to split up and cancel within 3 months of the wedding. And it's always for a prime date in April May or October.

  15. #15
    Join Date
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    The way I see it is $400 for the retainer is a good amount. So I don't think she's opting out because she found a cheaper DJ. So I say like others have said if she doesn't have a problem with you keeping the retainer, why should you?

  16. #16
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    [QUOTE=andywilson;1393111]Their is no point in asking for a deposit if you intend to refund it . I only refund a deposit where there is some tragic situation usually medical or death related. [QUOTE]

    Ditto.
    I know business is business....
    but as DJ's, we do claim to care about our clients.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ausumm View Post
    ..but as DJ's, we do claim to care about our clients.
    It has to be a two way street or it's just being used.
    Rocky 'djrox' Bourg
    Father/Husband/Son/Brother/American

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by djrox View Post
    It has to be a two way street or it's just being used.
    This time I agree with you. I can't believe I said I agreed to one of your posts. Must be the pain I'm in.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by djmachoman View Post
    This time I agree with you. I can't believe I said I agreed to one of your posts. Must be the pain I'm in.
    Are you feeling well. LOL twice!
    Heavy weight lifter, karate, oh, I DJ too. Life is good!

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by djmachoman View Post
    This time I agree with you. I can't believe I said I agreed to one of your posts. Must be the pain I'm in.
    ...........................
    blind squirrel.jpg
    Rocky 'djrox' Bourg
    Father/Husband/Son/Brother/American

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