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Wedding supplier refund - frustration - arguments from caterer's solicitor


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BACKGROUND
 
  • Wedding for 300 in October 2020 - in England
    • Contract signed and deposit of £3k paid in December 2019
    • Full contract value is £25k
  • In August 2020, delayed wedding to May 2021 (addendum signed)
  • In Jan 2021 entered into discussions to move venue/delay further
    • No addendum signed
  • Discussions continued until April as costs for 15 people were suggested to be £10k.
  • Asked for cancellation costs and told this was in excess of deposit (basic breakdown given with no detail)
  • Discussions broke down.
 
 
CORRESPONDENCE 
 
  • Sent letter explaining why contract was frustrated (significantly different guest numbers).
 
  • Caterer's solicitor has sent response with the following points:
 
(1) It was not impossible for the caterer to provide services.
 
(2) An alternative method of performance was possible - referring to The Furness Bridge [1977] case
 
(3) When the addendum was signed in August 2020, the alleged frustrating event should have been foreseen - referring to Armchair Answercall Ltd v People in Mind Ltd [2016].
 
(4) Similarly, when the addendum was signed in August 2020, the alleged frustrating event was already apparent - referring to Flying Music Company Ltd v Theater Entertainment SA and Others [2017].
 
(5) Even where frustration is determined - they determine their costs are fair as they don't even include their overheads - referring to the CMA judgment in the Bijou Wedding Venue case.
 
(6) The client reserves the right to seek their cancellation charges per the contract (c.75% of contract value).
 
  • They have offered £1k to settle

 

CONCERNS
 
My key concerns are as follows:
 
  • Biggest risk is them seeking their cancellation charge and me being liable for c.£16k (or even if less) - I want to avoid this at all costs and ensure no position puts me at risk of losing any more money. 

 

  • They are relying on the addendum to avoid falling into frustration, if that is the case, it opens the door for them to seek cancellation charges per the contract. 

 

  • Then, even if there is frustration, they are saying that their breakdown is sufficient to cover my deposit. And even if not, they can add in overruns by relying on Bijou's.

 

REQUEST

 
I can see us moving to small claims at some point - but i don't want to risk this if there is a chance i could lose even more money.
 
Is there any defence to the arguments they've posed? Would you recommend I settle and take the £1k, or do you think there's any way to recover the full deposit. If so, please do share any insights or potential lines of response to their points.
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sorry are you saying they will accept £1k from you and call it quits

or they are offering you £1k?

please don't hit Quote...just type we know what we said earlier..

DCA's view debtors as suckers, marks and mugs

NO DCA has ANY legal powers whatsoever on ANY debt no matter what it's Type

and they

are NOT and can NEVER  be BAILIFFS. even if a debt has been to court..

If everyone stopped blindly paying DCA's Tomorrow, their industry would collapse overnight... 

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why are you liable for their cancellation costs of £16K? did you not give them enough advanced warning?

 

without poking into pers matters i will gather the wedding reception never actually took place at all then?
what was the last date you moved it too and when did you eventually inform them that in-fact you wanted to cancel everything?

 

as long as you met their cancellation deadlines between event and actual cancel date re notice..you should IMHO be demanding the whole deposit.

 

please don't hit Quote...just type we know what we said earlier..

DCA's view debtors as suckers, marks and mugs

NO DCA has ANY legal powers whatsoever on ANY debt no matter what it's Type

and they

are NOT and can NEVER  be BAILIFFS. even if a debt has been to court..

If everyone stopped blindly paying DCA's Tomorrow, their industry would collapse overnight... 

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Share on other sites

Given the wedding was during Covid times - we were constantly in communication to 'monitor' the rules. So firstly, when the Wedding was originally in October 2020, it got to about August 2020 and we decided that rules would not flex enough so signed the addendum to move to May 2021.

 

From Jan 2021, we again determined it was unlikely rules would flex for 300 so were were in regular conversations with the caterer as to what could be offered for a smaller wedding but these discussions broke down by April as they were looking to charge 10k for a 15 person wedding (with a few meals but nonetheless, proportionally outrageous).

 

We didn't technically cancel, as we enquired as to what the cancellation charge would be so we could make a decision and as part of that conversation, discussions broke down.

 

So the reference to cancellation charges means that their lawyer is saying that cancelling one month before the wedding triggers the contract cancellation charge (16k) and so they are threatening to come after me for that amount.

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so the proposed date of the event has been and gone and didnt happen, and you didn't cancel by i month before may? 

your story is clear as mud.

 

please don't hit Quote...just type we know what we said earlier..

DCA's view debtors as suckers, marks and mugs

NO DCA has ANY legal powers whatsoever on ANY debt no matter what it's Type

and they

are NOT and can NEVER  be BAILIFFS. even if a debt has been to court..

If everyone stopped blindly paying DCA's Tomorrow, their industry would collapse overnight... 

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Share on other sites

"so the proposed date of the event has been and gone and didnt happen" - The proposed date was May 2021 and we did not have their catering services for the event given the restrictions in place.

 

"and you didn't cancel by i month before may?" - Technically, we didn't cancel (there was no formal request to cancel). In April 2021. we were discussing cancellation charges as it was apparent the original contract for 300 couldn't be changed to 15 in a way we both agreed, and therefore we were disagreeing on cancellation costs (they were claiming it was c.£4.5 for costs incurred to date - i disagreed). The discussion dropped off at this point whilst I looked to prepare a formal letter to request my deposit back. I sent the formal letter and received the above response.

 

Apologies for lack of clarity - I can answer any further questions you have.

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Getting there..this is regarding the supply of the catering, the actual event took place but you didn't use the original catering company. Sorry for my confusion

 

id say if they are offering £1k you can push them higher. Its not as if they turned up. They knew it was a dead deal .

 

I think you are correct and your deposit should be fully returned.

please don't hit Quote...just type we know what we said earlier..

DCA's view debtors as suckers, marks and mugs

NO DCA has ANY legal powers whatsoever on ANY debt no matter what it's Type

and they

are NOT and can NEVER  be BAILIFFS. even if a debt has been to court..

If everyone stopped blindly paying DCA's Tomorrow, their industry would collapse overnight... 

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Share on other sites

Thanks - and sorry for the confusion on getting there.

 

Do you think there's any specific way in which i should push them in response to the points they've made?

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It just what solicitors do. Put up every excuse . When none of it is actually relevant. Just trying to confuse you with legal twaddle and mumbo jumbo.

 

write back stating it is quite obvious your client knew the contract was already well frustrated and they were not going to be our chosen suppliers for a much small number month before the event.

 

i want my deposit back in full. No quibble and am quite happy to raise a court claim .

please don't hit Quote...just type we know what we said earlier..

DCA's view debtors as suckers, marks and mugs

NO DCA has ANY legal powers whatsoever on ANY debt no matter what it's Type

and they

are NOT and can NEVER  be BAILIFFS. even if a debt has been to court..

If everyone stopped blindly paying DCA's Tomorrow, their industry would collapse overnight... 

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Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

Thanks for this.

 

To an extent, that is what my original letter said.

 

They have come back with the reasons in (2), (3) and (4) as to why it wasn't frustrated.

 

And even then, their second leg of defence is saying even if it was, they can claim the deposit as a minimum of costs incurred under (5).

 

The bit in (6) is what worries me as I don't want to be liable for any more than i've already lost.

Edited by Hath0920
Typo
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its just all hot air to try and put you off and accept a smaller figure.

don't be... call their bluff.

 

its sometimes better not to enter into long letter exchanges, giving this reason and that why you are 'right'

simply keep to the basic simply facts, its a returnable deposit, i want it all back no quibble.

please don't hit Quote...just type we know what we said earlier..

DCA's view debtors as suckers, marks and mugs

NO DCA has ANY legal powers whatsoever on ANY debt no matter what it's Type

and they

are NOT and can NEVER  be BAILIFFS. even if a debt has been to court..

If everyone stopped blindly paying DCA's Tomorrow, their industry would collapse overnight... 

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Share on other sites

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