As a dressmaker, what are my rights regarding a non-refundable deposit?

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As a dressmaker, what are my rights regarding a non-refundable deposit?

I am in an agreement with a lady that had me make a dress for her. We both signed a contract we made that all payments are non-refundable. The original design has been changed a little along the way. I turned the dress over to her that she had fitted that day worn for a few minutes and everything was fine. She loved it and even asked for me to make her a cloak that goes with it. However, the next day she sent me a message and wanted a refund; she has problems with the dress but it is nothing that I cannot fix. I have bent over backwards give her what she wants however, she will not negotiate with me. What can I do?

Asked on May 29, 2014 under Business Law, Ohio

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

If you complied with your obligations, then you do not need to refund the deposit--especially in light of an agreement stating that all payments are non-refundable. Unless provided otherwise, deposits are generally only refundable if the business cannot or does not  honor its obligations. You can also charge her for any additional amounts due from her under the agreement (if any) and, if necessary, sue her (such as in small claims court) to recover those amounts.

The above said, if she tries instead to sue you to recover the payments made, while (from what you write), you would seem to be likely to win in court, it may be worthwhile, if it comes to that, to offer to return some or even all (depending on how much it is) of the money to avoid the time, distraction, etc. of a lawsuit.


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