Can a catering services refuse to return my down payment for a cancle event without written contract?

I put a down payment for a restaurant to cater for my event, but had to cancel it 2 weeks before the event. There were no written contracts and now catering services said that the money I put down was non-refundable. There were not terms and conditions or signed documents. Can I still get my money back?

Asked on August 20, 2012 under Business Law, Wisconsin


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

The entire point of a down payment is to hold the date by giving each party something to lose. When the buyer or client cancels, the seller or service provider is entitled to keep the downpayment, even if there  is no written agreement, just as if the seller or provider cancelled, the buyer or client could get the money back even when there was no written agreement to that effect. In this case, the catering company  can keep your down payment.

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