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Cancelled weddings: are you struggling to get a refund?

The COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown have scuppered many couples’ plans this year. Have you been forced to cancel your wedding due to the coronavirus crisis?

Lockdown restrictions are playing havoc with many couples’ dreams of tying the knot this summer.

Read all the latest COVID-19 news and advice on our dedicated hub

I’ve recently spoken with a number of couples who have faced difficulties when trying to rearrange their dates or get their money back from venues.

Some told us their insurance providers aren’t paying out either.

If you’re facing challenges with your venue or suppliers, here’s some more info about your rights.

Is your cancellation policy fair?

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is currently looking into cancellation policy concerns in these sectors:

🔹 Weddings and private events

🔹 Holiday accommodation

🔹 Nursery and childcare providers

Its guidance for businesses states that it expects customers to be refunded where they have cancelled or haven’t received a service due to coronavirus restrictions.

This includes non-refundable deposits and advance payments. Admin fees for processing refunds should also be waived.

If you don’t feel your venue or supplier is following these guidelines, you can report them to the CMA.

Next steps

Despite the CMA’s guidance, I’ve been hearing from many couples who have experienced problems when trying to rebook or get a refund.

If you think your venue may be acting unfairly or flouting the CMA’s guidance, here’s what you can do:

🔹 Check your terms and conditions carefully, looking out for any terms that give too much power to the venue. These terms might be considered unfair and could be unenforceable.

🔹 Read up on your rights when cancelling a service – they will differ depending on whether you or the venue cancelled.

🔹 Make a claim with your bank – if you paid by credit card you may be able to make a Section 75 claim and if you paid by debit card you can try using chargeback.

🔹 Report the venue to the CMA or the financial ombudsman.

If you’re not being offered your money back for a service you haven’t received due to COVID-19, whether it’s from your venue, suppliers or insurance provider, we’d like to hear from you.

Are you struggling to get a refund or suitable postponement date for your wedding?

Share your story in the comments below.

Comments

We were due to get married in Spain Sept 2020, we postponed due to the pandemic and have a new date of July 2021. As I am Irish and international travel isn’t allowed from Ireland and our guests wont be vaccinated by July we wish to cancel. We have paid small deposits to suppliers but the main deposit we paid was 50% to the venue. The venue is saying that if we release the dates and they fill our date with other guests they will refund 50% of the deposit. If we would like to move the date that can be done for a fee! There was no fee last year when we changed the date due to a pandemic and we are still in this pandemic. The venue is a villa and I cant see how we could have incurred any costs to them thus far. Our contract says the deposits are non refundable if we cancel but if the venue cancels on us then we are entitled to a full refund. If we cant reasonably, safely and legally get there how can it be our fault that we are cancelling.

Obviously dealing with Spain we may have an issue with european/spanish law but can we quote furstrated contract law?

Any help or advice would be great. Thank you!

Emma – It is not clear whether you are domiciled in Eire or the UK but I think you would need Spanish legal advice to see whether there are any reciprocal arrangements between Ireland or the UK and Spain that would enable you to pursue a frustrated contract claim.

I presume you booked the venue but your guests are making their own travel and accommodation arrangements, or is it one combined booking?

There are Spanish lawyers practising in the UK and UK solicitors who undertake or advise on Spanish legal work. Put “Spanish lawyer” [and permutations thereof] in your browser and see what comes up.

One option might be to obtain vaccinations before the end of April if possible and keep to the date already booked.

Kelly says:
25 March 2021

We were due to marry last year in Turkey paid deposit all cancelled due to covid till this year here we go again cancelled again can rearrange for next year but if I do not go ahead I SHALL lose deposit which we think unfair as not our fault

Does your insurance not cover you if not permitted to travel to Turkey next year? (I do hope we are in a better place well before then, though).