20 Jul Corona Virus Wedding Cancellation – Complaints & Issues
The Coronavirus has been a learning curve for everyone. We have had to completely change our way of life in a relatively short period of time and we still have a long way to go. Unfortunately, it looks as though we will be living with this virus for some time – so what does that mean for weddings? Couples have struggled immensely over the past couple of months, especially those who had their big day planned. They have seen their plans delayed, pushed back to next year or even put off altogether. The financial losses involved in changing or cancelling your wedding day can be a massive burden on couples. Along with this, venues aren’t always being co-operative when dealing with cancelations and date changes. On a few occasions, couples have been charged a cancelation fee, despite the current climate.
During these unforeseen times, we have heard some horror stories from couples planning their wedding. However, couples were competing with unprofessional suppliers even before the virus – so it is understandable if you are feeling a little uneasy and nervous about the whole thing. Unfortunately, with social media so accessible to everyone nowadays, criminals can set up a fake company at the click of a button. Fear not, however. There are regulations and rights out there to protect you when making decisions for your big day – but you need to make sure you do your research first.
What are your rights as a consumer?
As a consumer, you have certain rights that companies have to abide by to ensure you get the best service possible. For a long time, there was nothing in place to protect both the supplier and customer in the wedding industry, however this has now changed. There is now a code of conduct in the wedding events industry called the Consumer Code for Weddings and Events. This organisation (which can be found here: https://www.ccwe.co.uk/) aims to ensure consumers and businesses alike have as much faith in one another as possible. The Consumer Code for Weddings and Events (CCWE) made sure to establish higher standards in the events industry and offer free, professional services when trying to resolve complaints about traders. Their aims are to give consumers confidence, raise standards within the industry, provide clear expectations and settle disputes as fairly as possible.
So, “how does this fill me with confidence?” you may be asking. Well, the CCWE, as previously mentioned, has aims to raise the events industry standards and encourages its members to follow set guidelines to achieve them. They suggest that clients put in place measures that demonstrate good practice and fair trade, offer excellent customer services and resolve any potential disputes through their own dispute’s services, if and when necessary.
In some cases, unfortunately, mediation isn’t possible. If a mutual agreement of a dispute isn’t met, then the CCWE will open a case to deal with the unresolved issues. At this point, both the client and the business will no longer have any say in the matter and the case outcome will be an independent decision from the organisation. The CCWE will make sure to compile as much evidence as they can and work with all information given to ensure the fairest outcome possible. However, don’t panic if you get to this stage and realise something is missing. The client will then be given one, final opportunity to say something else before the case is handed over.
You may be wondering where that leaves us now, during these unforeseen circumstances. The Corona Virus originally left consumers and businesses both in a bit of a grey area, but that doesn’t mean you should still be kept in the dark now. According to recent research, more and more couples are looking to change their wedding date to sometime in the future. If you, as a consumer, decide to cancel or postpone your wedding, you need to know your rights to ensure you don’t end up with any unwanted bills. If you are the party cancelling, you may find that the venue and/or the suppliers a little uneasy – this is because their cancellation policy may leave you owing a bit of money. If it is possible, try to negotiate with the suppliers about rebooking for a later date, to hopefully prevent any hidden costs coming your way. However, if you are considering cancelling or moving your big day back, do it sooner rather than later. Make sure you are aware of the supplier’s cancelation policy, because the longer you leave it, the more you may have to pay.
If you were planning to go ahead with the big day, but your venue of choice decides to cancel all foreseeable weddings – your rights are slightly different to the above. Thankfully, if your venue cancels at any time, you are entitled to any money you have already paid. However, make sure to check your wedding insurance policy (you can read our blog post about wedding insurance here: https://www.bumbleevents.co.uk/covid-19-and-wedding-insurance/) to know exactly what is and isn’t covered by your insurer.
Make sure you are aware of your rights, no matter the circumstances. Legally, deposits cannot be ‘non-refundable,’ so make sure you investigate why you may not be getting your money back. If a venue or supplier keeps the money you have paid, make sure to ask them for a breakdown of costs and question why a refund cannot be made. If you still feel as though a venue is unlawfully refusing you a refund, collect as much evidence to support your case as possible. Once you have collected this, you may be able to go to the CEO of the company and state your case.
You shouldn’t be left penniless in a circumstance no one could have predicted – that isn’t fair in the slightest. Your big day is supposed to be when you tie the knot with the person you love, not get tied in knots over complicated refunds and debt. Ensure you have done as much research on the Consumer Rights Acts as possible and always keep the lines of communications open with your venue and suppliers. Although they may seem to be causing you a hard time, mostly they want what is best for everyone involved, however, they cannot please everyone. So, make sure you fight your corner, research and prevent any unwanted fees rearing their ugly head.