Interesting Situation...Need Advice
/forum/topic/1162464/0



dgleason
Registered: Jul 25, 2011
Total Posts: 318
Country: United States

We ran into a situation where we had a client that couldn't afford our down payment until she got paid which wasn't for two weeks. She seemed very nice and really excited about our work so against our better judgement we agreed to go ahead and save her date. She and her fiance signed the contract which stated they would pay the down payment on Nov 1.

So the money was due today and we hadn't heard from her so we gave her a call. Basically she said oh you must not have got my email is sent last week...(there was no email), but my fiance was in a car accident...he's ok but we are going to have to postpone things because of the medical bills...We said no problem, the retainer will still count towards your wedding whenever you do decide to book and we could arrange payment options for her. Then she say's...well I don't even think we will be able to have a photographer! Couldn't really tell if she was telling the truth or not but my gut tells me she's lying about the seriousness of the accident. I guess I could be way off base.. Either way I have a contract stating they agreed to pay the retainer..and we did turn away a wedding because of them!

Do we stick to our guns and make them pay or just let it go?

Thanks in advance!



rockant
Registered: Feb 13, 2011
Total Posts: 189
Country: United States

I am now expert, but I do not see it doing your business any good pressing the issue. Can you imagine how it would sound to others if she is telling the truth.

Lesson learned the hard way!



Juliewhitlock
Registered: Oct 03, 2012
Total Posts: 30
Country: Canada

I can't see any benefit for you to try to enforce that. There's only downsides. Wish them well and move on.



D. Diggler
Registered: Dec 27, 2011
Total Posts: 5932
Country: United States

dgleason wrote:
I have a contract stating they agreed to pay the retainer..and we did turn away a wedding because of them!

Do we stick to our guns and make them pay or just let it go?


"Make them pay" based upon what? You have no contract with them. In order for there to be a contract, they would have had to make a payment along with signing. You can't make them pay even if you wanted to. Your fault for penciling them in without a contract in place.

A date is only "booked" if there is a signed contract PLUS the cash. You need both.

I've had clients mail me the signed agreement with no check and I mail the agreement back saying I need a check in order to secure their date. I've had clients mail the check with no signed agreement and I mail back the check saying I need the signed agreement in order to secure their date.



amonline
Registered: Jul 16, 2006
Total Posts: 6980
Country: United States

She changed her mind.

Open the date.

End thread.



BGP1
Registered: Oct 06, 2008
Total Posts: 902
Country: United States

That's the story you get tell from now on to all future clients as to why you don't hold a date without a retainer. Sucks.



tobicus
Registered: Jan 20, 2012
Total Posts: 1595
Country: United States

BGP1 wrote:
That's the story you get tell from now on to all future clients as to why you don't hold a date without a retainer. Sucks.


Bingo. Move on and remember to keep dates open until the moolah shows up. You'll be fine.



dgleason
Registered: Jul 25, 2011
Total Posts: 318
Country: United States

We let it go. Thanks for the input



TTLKurtis
Registered: Jan 31, 2006
Total Posts: 10017
Country: United States

Hopefully you learned a lesson. No deposit no saved date.



scottam10
Registered: Oct 01, 2012
Total Posts: 813
Country: Australia

That sucks, you held up your side of the deal, but I don't think you can press it unfortunately

That's what a retainer is for...until you have that, they have nothing invested and can walk away pretty much scot-free

Interesting that you asked for a retainer without a date selected. What would the retainer have bought for them? ...the ability to choose a date later I guess

Yep, looks like the date is now open. You could call the other couple and let them know of the cancellation (possibly too late now)



MattSepeta
Total Posts:
Country:

wa wa waaaaaa



RichardLavigne
Registered: Jan 13, 2007
Total Posts: 5353
Country: United States

It sounds to me as if their financial situation changed and they are no longer interested in your services.... that's fine. Ask them to void the contract, in writing and everyone is free and clear to go on their way.

In the future... change your contract so that it states that it is not valid without retainer.... and don't accept ANY contracts without payment in the future. if you simply maintain that as a hard and fast rule regardless of situation, you'll always be protected.



Brian Virts
Registered: Apr 28, 2010
Total Posts: 1964
Country: United States

^+1

Signed contract and retainer = booked wedding date.



cordellwillis
Registered: Aug 24, 2004
Total Posts: 5080
Country: United States

Between the time of signing the contract and waiting for her to get paid (EG, not paying you) they found someone on CL to cover their entire wedding day for the cost of your retainer.

Don't do this again.



Ian Ivey
Registered: Mar 21, 2011
Total Posts: 1336
Country: United States

"Make them pay" based upon what? You have no contract with them. In order for there to be a contract, they would have had to make a payment along with signing.

That's incorrect. A signed agreement with a promise to pay is enforceable, particularly if you acted in reliance on that agreement to your detriment, as you seem to have done by turning away business for that date.

It's still unlikely to be worth attempting enforcement, but I'd also say people here do tend to fret too much about photographers enforcing their contractual rights. This client will never refer business to you, or even talk about you positively, no matter what you do. I give at least even odds that they could have paid you at signing, but wanted the option to talk to another photographer, you gave them the option, they took it and booked elsewhere, and then lied to you about the accident. There's likely no value in preserving a relationship with this couple, and the couple has cost you an opportunity.

Though I'd certainly investigate whether the groom was in fact injured first, and might not bother with an action if this claim were true, it would be legally appropriate for you to require payment of the retainer under the contract, and then to refund it if you re-book the date at full price. Whether the amount of your retainer makes the effort worthwhile is yet another matter, but I argue the risk to your reputation is a lot lower than people here worry it might be. It won't become a regional news story, much less a national one.



Jon-Mark
Registered: Dec 12, 2011
Total Posts: 347
Country: Canada

I feel that if you turned away work that you need to enforce the contract and require the retainer unless you are able to book the date.



BriMcD
Registered: Feb 12, 2012
Total Posts: 202
Country: United States

I would make sure that they are lying and if they are in force it. You would not want referrals from them anyway. I'm learning from your generosity. It's not worth it. Hope it works out for you.



Marcus Watts
Registered: Oct 05, 2007
Total Posts: 3094
Country: United States

amonline wrote:
She changed her mind.

Open the date.

End thread.


Well said.

Holding the date with no deposit was your mistake. Learn from it and move on.