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Legal advice: fight for your wedding fee refund

Unreasonably high cancellation costs are unfair and should be challenged. Here’s how we helped a member settle a claim for his wedding venue.

In January 2020, Which? Legal member Ian paid a £6,720 deposit to secure an event space for his October wedding and reception. But given the uncertainty of whether the wedding would be able to go ahead in light of coronavirus restrictions, he cancelled the booking in June.

When the venue received Ian’s cancellation request, it directed him to its T&Cs, which stated the 50% deposit was non-refundable. The venue offered to postpone the wedding instead of accepting Ian’s cancellation. However, this wasn’t a viable option as the proposed alternative dates didn’t work.

Ian sought our advice on whether he had to sacrifice his £6,720 payment or if there was something he could do to fight for his money back.

Unfair contractual terms

Section 62 of the Consumer Rights Act 2015 states consumers are not bound by contractual terms that are deemed to be unfair. This legislation identifies unreasonably high cancellation fees as unfair contract terms.

Therefore, Ian was only required to pay reasonable costs that the venue could prove were incurred up to the point of cancellation.

We recommended that Ian set out his position to the venue alongside a request for evidence of the actual losses the venue had incurred to date.

Cancelled weddings: are you struggling to get a refund?

When the venue sent the information, Ian made an offer of a settlement. The venue responded with counter offers including using the payment as credit towards a future event or assigning the payment as a credit to a third party of the couple’s choosing.

Ian chose not to accept any of these offers and instead decided to issue court proceedings in order to prompt a resolution that he considered reasonable.

The claim was settled out of court and he was refunded £5,420 plus £205 towards his court fees.

Have you faced the same difficulties with wedding venue refunds as Ian? How did the venue resolve the situation?

Have a legal question of your own?

Which? Legal offers affordable legal advice, over the phone and by email to help you tackle your problem or issue.  

Our team of legal advisers will give you tailored information and advice on your rights and next steps, so you can handle your issue confidently.  

Which? Legal can help on a range of topics, from faulty goods and car purchase issues to landlord and tenancy issues, plus much more.

To find out how we can help you, call Which? Legal on 0117 405 5695 or visit Which? Legal.