Dear Preston: Should I refund this deposit?



I have a unique situation here. I am a wedding decorator. My client (groom) signed a contract on 10/26/2016 and paid a retainer to secure the date of 11/25/2016. Yesterday, the client called and said that the venue wouldn’t allow us to decorate in the building. Therefore, the client is asking for a refund. I don’t understand; we never had any issue working at this venue in the past. Another vendor told me recently that bride’s mothers’ friend is also a decorator (my competitor), and she wants to decorate the wedding, and the client is using the venue as an excuse to get the refund. I am trying to find answers;

  1. How can the venue forbid us from working there when we decorated another wedding six months ago at this venue?
  2. Should I refund the deposit?

Please assist, and also the retainer is non-refundable as agreed upon in the written contract.



Dear Concern:

I have edited your question a bit for clarifying the issues, to give you the best advice as for how.

I can understand your frustration, most likely you are experiencing something like this for the first time. Unfortunately most venues “absolutely” have the right to forbid any vendor from working on their property. In fact, I have lost more than one job in the past because my company was not on their preferred vendor’s list.

Having said that, I would like you to know, sometimes properties have some financial arrangements with “selective” vendors, and other times, like in museums; it’s just a matter of working with vendors that the museum management places trust so that no damage occurs to the property. I happen to think; this is very unfair, especially when a client hires us because of our talent, I see no reason, why these particular venues should exclude us.

You said you have worked in this particular venue many times before; I suggest you, giving them a call to get to the bottom of this. I also see that there are a lot of unanswered question to this scenario; and even when your contract states that the deposit is nonrefundable, still I would suggest you bite the bullet by making the refund for the deposit and simply walk away if you have not done any work as of yet.

Dear Readers:

I know you might not agree with me today in suggesting to return the refund, but sometimes walking away, is the best way to avoid a toxic situation. What do you think?