Is it legal to keep a “non-refundable” deposit on a wedding venue if they have already refilled the date?

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Is it legal to keep a “non-refundable” deposit on a wedding venue if they have already refilled the date?

I had given the owner 6 months notice to find another bride to fill the date since my mother was ill and I could not continue with the wedding, she told me it was non-refundable no matter what. Then 1 week later and she has already filled the day and got a deposit from the other bride. Is it legal to have “non-refundable” deposits?

Asked on May 4, 2012 under Business Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

When the client or customer cancels, a business is allowed to keep the deposit as liquidated (previously agreed upon) damages for the client/customer's breach of contract. When the business rebooks the date, so that it is not out-of-pocket anything, it may not sue you for additional damages or compensation--which it may have been able to, had it not been able to rebook--but is still allowed to keep the deposit. Had the venue cancelled or been unable to perform, then they would have had to have returned your deposit.

 


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