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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 50157
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor
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I booked a wedding venue and then had to cancel due to costs spiralling out of control

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Hi, I booked a wedding venue and then had to cancel due to costs spiralling out of control. They are now claiming a cancellation fee of £2000, 30% of the final fee, based on cancellation 6-12 months before the wedding (£500 deposit already paid, we cancelled 8 months before the wedding). This is stated in the terms and conditions we signed. However this seems very high to me and also they are refusing to mitigate their loss - the have contacted 2 brides and refuse to do anything else. Where do I stand?
Hello have you paid a deposit from which they can deduct those fees?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
We paid £500 deposit (stated as non refundable), this is in addition, a 30% cancellation fee of roughly £2k. They are stating they will refund the £500 deposit when we pay the cancellation charge. I have sent you a copy of the terms and conditions.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
£5681.50 must be met. (updated 07.11.14)
2. Cancellation of Function
2.1. Should the Client cancel the function a charge will be made calculated as a percentage of the total booking value in accordance with the following scale and will be based on the approximate number of guests provided on the booking form:
Cancellation/Notification Period Percentage
From 12-6 months prior to event 30% 6-3 months prior to event 60% 3 months or less prior to event 100%
2.2 In the event of the cancellation of a wedding where Beeston Manor has been reserved exclusively, the cost of the bedrooms will also be included in the cancellation charges.
2.3 All reductions in numbers shall be confirmed in writing by the Client
2.4 Any special costs incurred by BM, that would not have been otherwise incurred, will be charged in the event of cancellation unless
BM is able to mitigate the loss.
2.5 The function rooms can only be reserved on the basis of a minimum of guests. BM will inform the Client of the minimum number
and if at any time the minimum number falls below that number BM reserve the right to charge for the minimum number or
alternatively to change the function suite without any liability whatsoever.
2.6 All cancellations must be confirmed in writing and sent by recorded delivery. For the purposes of cancellation a day shall mean
Monday to Friday between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Any cancellation made out of these hours will deem to be made the next
working day.
2.7 BM reserve the right to cancel any booking forthwith without any liability in the event of:-
2.6.1 Any occurrence beyond the control of BM which shall prevent us from performing our obligation towards the booking
2.6.2 If the booking, client, invitees or its servants might, in the opinion of BM prejudice the reputation of BM without being
liable for any refund or any compensation to the client
2.6.3 If the client has failed to fulfil the requested payment schedule.
2.7 Postponements are treated as a cancellation and terms as per section 2.1 apply. However, the directors reserve the right to use their discretion given the nature of the postponement.
2.8 If the postponed date is not proceeded with terms will apply as per section 2.1 to the original booking and the postponed booking (updated 29.12.13)
3. Deposits and Payments
3.1 BM reserve the right to require a non-refundable deposit of £500.00 at the time of booking and if the same is not paid then BM may treat the booking as cancelled by the Client without any liability whatsoever (updated 07.11.14)
3.2 6 months prior to the event BM reserve the right to require a further deposit of £1000 and if not paid BM may treat the booking as cancelled by the client without any liability
3.3 We will contact you to arrange an appointment to finalise your event plans approximately 6 weeks prior to your function. Following the appointment we will prepare your final invoice which must be paid at least 14 days prior to your function. (updated 07.11.14)
3.4 All deposits shall be non-refundable except at the discretion of BM.
3.5 When full payment is required prior to the event, the amount of the invoice delivered
Generally, when a person places a deposit for something they enter into a legally enforceable contract with the seller. It is implied that the service provider has accepted the deposit as security and as proof that the customer wants to proceed with the contract. Unless the service provider subsequently commits a serious breach of contract, or there was a cancellation clause, the customer would have no legal right to cancel the agreement and if they do so they will be acting in breach of contract and risk losing their deposit and even be liable to other cancellation charges. If the contract was with a business party, they will be subject to certain consumer rules and regulations. For example, you will have some protection under Schedule 2, Regulation 1(d) of the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999. It states that if the contract has been cancelled after a deposit has been placed you are entitled to have the deposit returned in full, unless the service provider has spent time, effort and money, in which case they can deduct reasonable expenses. Even if some expenses have been incurred, if these are subsequently recovered, for example by offering the services to someone else, the deposit should still be returned in full. It follows that a blanket non-refundable clause that entitles the service provider to keep the deposit in all circumstances is most likely going to be unfair and unlawful. Similarly, if they are trying to enforce a cancellation clause which requires you to pay more money, that could amount to a penalty clause, which is legally unenforceable. They can only try and pursue you for that amount f it was to cover losses genuinely incurred as a result of your breach. However, they would also have a duty to mitigate their losses so they should be making all efforts to try and get a replacement customer for these dates and minimise these losses. If they do not, then it could be seen as unreasonable and a penalty clause. They could keep the deposit but they cannot force you to pay the remaining sum and the only way to do so would be to take you to court and win. To do so they would need to convince the court that this was a reasonable clause which existed to cover genuine losses incurred which would not be mitigated. I hope this has answered your query. I would be grateful if you could please take a second to leave a positive rating (3, 4 or 5 stars) as that is an important part of our process and recognises the time I have spent assisting you. If you need me to clarify anything before you go - please get back to me on here and I will assist further as best as I can. Thank you
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