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Seriously ripped off by wedding reception venue, help needed.


The Chez
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Ok, first off the title should have said 'Seriously ripped off BY wedding reception venue, not MY. If a mod could edit this for me I would be very grateful.

 

I love the new forum layout, thanks CAG!

 

Anyway, on Friday 13th of August (last week!) me and my partner of 5 years were married. We'd decided on a low key wedding with just over 25 people. We got married at the local register office, which was simply amazing service, NO faults whatsoever with how it was all conducted, in a very timely, polite fashion.

 

However, the reception venue we had chosen, a local community center (no names because I feel this could turn into a case where we might need to approach it legally) which prided it's self on being 'non profit' and able to put on a more tailored, personal spread than pubs or resturaunts, let us down, big time.

 

We had ordered our party from a checklist of their services, and discussed our needs for many long hours with them. They offered everything we needed, right from a host service to a choice of 3 buffets, the first one being very basic, and the last one being hot sit down meal food. we ordered the middle one with some of our own choices too. It all seemed perfect, not too expensive, but then not so cheap as we got a slap dash job with little personal touch.

 

Because I have Asperger Syndrome, and sometimes struggle to organise myself, we had paid for a host service, who would do things like announce us into the room, call the toast and speech, and we had also asked for the desserts and savouries to be served seperatly, as we expected a couple of young children to be there, who would obviously want their chocolate gateux before their sandwhiches!

 

When we arrived, the first thing I noticed was a dog in the building, and the TOS stated no dogs other than guide dogs were permitted as it was a food service venue. The owner of the dog looked poor sighted, but the dog had no guide dog harness on, and certainly was not behaving as a guide dog should. We had also been told that there would be no members of the public in the building other than us during the reception, and I noticed many. Part of the booking TOS was that we left a refundable deposit of £100 incase any damages were incurred, what if damages were incurred by someone not affiliated with us, and then us, as the 'hirer' would have been liable for the costs, as I was told we would have to prove who had done it in order not to be!

 

Now the host service, which I had specificaly paid for and given instructions for was NON EXISTANT. I knew this after only a few minutes of being there. Me and my husband were stood outside the main hall, waiting to be announced in as we had asked, for quite some time, and the 'host' had to he chased to be asked to do her job. Even then, it was like she couldn't get away fast enough.

 

During the party, if we needed the 'host' we had to chase after her, often to no avail. She didn't come into the room par to change the music CD, so really, there was no host service we had paid for! They did not come in and announce any speech, or toast, or anything we had asked them to do.

 

We had also asked that they make their rules and smoking regulations very clear from the start of the party as part of the welcome, as I was not chasing smokers around telling them where to go. This was not done and the smokers had to be moved to the correct area more than once. We had also asked for them to tell people about the Wishing Well, where they could leave cash donations as we had asked not to receive any gifts other than cash as we have everything, this was not done, and we had cards and money floating all over our table.

 

The food was pretty good, but again, the layout and presentation of it was pretty poor, the sandwhiches were cut into tiny squares like you'd find at a kiddies party, not a wedding reception. I had asked for smoked salmon on baguette slices, which is my favorite, they agreed to this, and guess what, we got prawns stuck to cream cheese on baguette slices, YUCK, that made me feel sick and I didn't even pick one up. Thanks a bunch.

 

We had paid for white tableclothes with a black one over the top in a diamond shape, we got a black diamond one flung over a drab brown tabletop! Again, this looked so lovely, NOT.

 

They have the ticklist of things we agreed to, this makes it so much worse trying to piece it all together and most important of all, prove what we paid for was not delivered :(

 

My mum, who also feels a bit disgruntled as she contributed some cash towards it, says I should put all this in writing and send it to them as a complaint. Which I intend to do once I have collected the refundable deposit.

 

I might also consider a FOI request for the ticklist if asking them does not get me anywhere, because I don't see grounds for them to refuse it, as it only contains info about myself and my husband, so there is no confidentiality issues or other people's data in there. We have reciepts for all the money we handed over, just no details as to what it was paying for. There are plenty of photos to prove the presentation wasn't up to much, but I feel the host service, which I am most angry about, will be very hard to prove as they will say they were there, even though they didn't do what we'd paid them to do. Once I'd had time to think it over, I wound up in tears, it has upset me a lot and it is a marr on my wedding day. It's making me feel like I should throw another party somewhere else to make it up to myself and other people who came, many from miles away.

 

It saddens me that I could have paid a pub half what I paid this place, for a simlar layout, and got value for money and no frills, not asked for a few extras, paid for them, and did not get them. I opted for this place to give it a more 'wedding' touch, make it feel a bit more special and avoid the rowdy folk a pub can sometimes have.

 

I honestly don't know what to do as far as seeking a refund is concerned, my mum has given me some pointers by email which I will try, but I think I will hit a brick wall asking for the ticklist. Would a FOI request get me anywhere if this is an issue? I would like to go over it to be double sure of everything.

 

My day did go very well, and it was very positive, my guests didn't really know what we'd paid for, so I think they were happy, it was only really me, my mum and my husband who knew we were not getting anywhere close to value for money. I also felt a bit fuddled having to sort everything myself, tell people where the toilets and smoking area was etc, everything I'd paid someone else to do.

 

I asked at the beginning about smoking in relation to to the ban, and I was told they would make sure everyone left the building to the correct smoking area, and that in an extreme case, we could be liable for the commercial £20,000 fine if someone lit up inside!!! It's all wrong, and it's really, really upsetting me.

 

Any help would be welcome, if I've not made anything clear, please don't hesitate to ask, I'll be popping on & off to check for replies.

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I think that the first thing to do is contact the management/owner of the venue, in writing, setting out the points of dissatisfaction and suggesting a remedy (which is likely to be a part or full refund).

 

It would, however, be useful to have a little more information. Did the venue make clear beforehand what would be provided (i.e. for the hosting service, table layout etc.), by way of a brochure, website or other written description? Were the specific requirements agreed and committed to paper, by way of a contract or agreement? Did you mention any of the difficulties to venue staff at the time, and have you done so since?

 

Be careful to be accurate; for example, you say in your post that the host service was non-existent, but then go on to describe the host changing CDs and so on, which suggests that in fact the host service existed, but was deficient in your view. Also, don't make assumptions - I would not have thought it obvious that children would expect to eat pudding first, for example - this will avoid making it look as if your expectations were unrealistic. In general, the shorter the letter, the more impact it will have, so use bullet points to emphasise the areas of complaint.

 

In my view, a wedding is about the couple's commitment to each other; the ceremony is the important bit and the reception is a peripheral activity that allows family and friends to share the celebration. In other words, the focus is on the couple and it would be a very ill-mannered guest who thought less of a bride or groom because of the reception. You should have got what you paid for, but I doubt anyone will think less of you because of a few hiccoughs.

 

Changed the title for you, btw.

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Thanks.

 

They did go over a ticklist with is which contained details of what we had ordered and asked for, but as I said in my OP, they have it, not me. I don't know how to go about obtaining it.

 

I understand what you said about changing the CD's, that is probably the only thing they got right! So the host service was there, it was just extremely under par to what we had asked for.

 

I was also concerned about the others in the building, as this could have easily led us into the situation where they did damage or smoked inside, and because the hall was hired in our name, we would have been liable for it.

 

Also, as I said, we had a lovely day and everyone who didn't know what we had paid for was happy :)

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Just to add - don't ask for documents under the FOI - this is an act for public authorities to release information about their business. What you need to submit is a subject access request under section 7 of the DPA.

My advice is based on my opinion, my experience and my education. I do not profess to be an expert in any given field. If requested, I will provide a link where possible to relevant legislation or guidance, so that advice provided can be confirmed and I do encourage others to follow those links for their own peace of mind. Sometimes my advice is not what people necesserily want to hear, but I will advise on facts as I know them - although it may not be what a person wants to hear it helps to know where you stand. Advice on the internet should never be a substitute for advice from your own legal professional with full knowledge of your individual case.

 

 

Please do not seek, offer or produce advice on a consumer issue via private message; it is against

forum rules to advise via private message, therefore pm's requesting private advice will not receive a response.

(exceptions for prior authorisation)

 

 

 

 

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Hmm that only talks about it if I were sending it to a bank, this is more like a small community establishment. First off I'm going to try just asking for it in a polite way, saying there's some things on it I would like to check. I don't see why they wouldn't be able to give me a copy as it contains nobody else's data or names etc.

 

I am also going to write them a letter of complaint, pointing out that we feel the services we paid for were not received in full, or in the case of the tablecloths and some food items, were not received at all. I have plenty of photos to prove these items were missing, all I need is the checklist to make double sure this is what was agreed. Chances are if they know they did wrong, the checklist won't exist anymore, that's when I might have to make some sort of request under the DPA.

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A request under section 7 of the DPA is for data held about you and your dealings with the organisation/company that holds the data. The template letters on here do apply mainly to banks and DCA's - just alter it to suit your circumstances - or I can write one for you, if you prefer.

 

A request under the FOI is for information about the business of public authorities - government authorities. The council, DWP, HMRC, the NHS, police etc.

 

I think the right approach is like you said to initially ask for it informally, and complain. If you don't get anywhere submit a subject access request under the DPA, submitting the fee (statutory maximum £10). This is a legal request which they have to comply with, provided you make it in writing, pay the statutory fee and the data contains no information about another person. If they fail to comply with it within 40 days, you can complain to the information commisioner.

My advice is based on my opinion, my experience and my education. I do not profess to be an expert in any given field. If requested, I will provide a link where possible to relevant legislation or guidance, so that advice provided can be confirmed and I do encourage others to follow those links for their own peace of mind. Sometimes my advice is not what people necesserily want to hear, but I will advise on facts as I know them - although it may not be what a person wants to hear it helps to know where you stand. Advice on the internet should never be a substitute for advice from your own legal professional with full knowledge of your individual case.

 

 

Please do not seek, offer or produce advice on a consumer issue via private message; it is against

forum rules to advise via private message, therefore pm's requesting private advice will not receive a response.

(exceptions for prior authorisation)

 

 

 

 

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thanks you so much for your help :) I'm composing a complaint in writing, which I feel is the best course of action in the first instance.

 

Also, I need some advice on health & safety law pertaining to a venue not instructing visitors of their fire procedure. I have spoken to other people who attended, and confermed that they were not informed of and health and safety procedure or where the exits were or what to do upon hearing the fire alarm, or where to assemble in the event the alarm should go off or a fire be discovered. Could the venue just turn around and say it was our responsability as the 'hirer' to do this, dispite the fact we were also not familier with their procedures? Wouldn't that be a bit like putting me in a building and expecting me to know what to do in a fire or other emergency without giving me any instructions? If this is the case, if they do have a duty to point these things out, I will also include it in my complaint.

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