How can I ensure a refund from a photographer?

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How can I ensure a refund from a photographer?

On 2/28. I booked a photographer for headshots for 3/19 and provided the deposit – on the same day received notice that I would be unable to to take the headshots – thereby cancelling with the photographer within hours of the booking – even though the photography date is 81 days away she is refusing to refund my monies. What are my legal options?

Asked on March 6, 2019 under Business Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

If you cancelled--that is, it was not the photographer who cancelled--you are not entitled to your deposit back. The deposit is "consideration," or a thing of value, you provide to the photographer in exchange for her agreeing to hold that date and time available for you and to take the headshots. If she does her part--she kept the time/date available for you--she is entitled to keep the deposit. In cancelling, you breached the contrct or agreement between the two of you, that she would take your headshots at a certain time in exchange for pay being paid by you for them. Because you breached the agreement by cancelling, she is entitled to keep the deposit. 
Remember: the purpose of the deposit is, as stated, to make the photographer hold the date/time for you. The deposit does this by guarantying her a certain minimum payment (the deposit). If you could cancel and get the deposit back, the deposit would not guaranty her anything and therefore would be valueless.


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