FAQ Friday: Wedding cancellations & deposit refunds

April 9, 2021

Every Friday, we share the answer to one of the most frequently asked questions (FAQs) from the hundreds of consumers who contact us each week. This week we take a look at some consumer questions on deposit refunds and what you need to know before saying ‘I do’ to your wedding suppliers.

Last month, my partner and I made the decision to cancel our wedding plans due to travel restrictions. Are we entitled to a refund of the deposits we paid our wedding venue and other suppliers?

When you pay a deposit, you are essentially paying a percentage of the price of a good (or in this case, a service) and you are entering into a contract with the business, which means that both sides have rights as well as responsibilities.

Under contract law, deposits are generally non-refundable. However, in the first instance, you should check the terms and conditions (T&Cs) of the contracts you agreed with the venue and other suppliers (for example music, florists, delivery services, etc.) to see what they say about deposits, and in what circumstances, if any, they may be refundable.

If the deposit is not refundable, you should:

  • Ask about alternatives: Contact your wedding venue and other suppliers to discuss what other options may be available to you, and see if they can accommodate an alternative arrangement – for example another date.
  • Confirm in writing: If rearrangements are made and deposits or payments are discussed over the phone, be sure to follow up with an email asking the business to confirm the new arrangement in writing.
  • Check your wedding insurance policy: If you have wedding insurance, it may be possible to make a claim on the policy – for example lost deposits or other costs incurred as a result of having to cancel your original date. However, this will depend on the terms and conditions of your policy and when you bought the policy. Remember to contact your insurer as soon as possible to discuss your options.
What if our wedding suppliers cannot accommodate our new date?

If they cannot accommodate your new date, or offer you a suitable alternative, your next step should be to negotiate with them to see if you can get some, or all of your deposit back. In general, you should be entitled to your deposit back if:

  • The business cannot deliver the goods or provide the service you agreed to pay for.
  • The business cannot deliver the goods or service on the agreed delivery date and the new date is not acceptable to you.

If, after following the above steps, you are not happy with the outcome and your suppliers still refuse to return your deposit, you may choose to take legal action. If your claim is less than €2,000, you can use the Small Claims procedure to try and resolve the issue.

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