Should we be getting our down payment back? Or is the group in the right to keep our downpayment ?

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Should we be getting our down payment back? Or is the group in the right to keep our downpayment ?

My parents hired a music group for their wedding 7 days ago and put down 600
dollars in down payment. Now they found a better group and want the down
payment returned but the group says they can’t because of the contract.
However on the contract it does not state anywhere that our downpayment
would not be returned if we cancelled. Keep in mind the wedding is not until
November.

Asked on March 18, 2018 under Business Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Actually, you have it backwards, unfortunately: the contract would have to specify that your down payment IS refundable in this circumstance to get it back. Otherwise, a down payment is ordinarily nonrefundable when the client elects to cancel the service or order. The whole point of a down payment is to give the business some certainty or guaranty that the customer will carry through with their order (so as to encourage the busienss to reserve that date or product for them), by giving them something to lose if they don't--the deposit. Making deposits refundable defeats their purpose. Also, you had an agreement with them: they'd play at your wedding on a certain day, and you'd pay them for doing so. If you cancel the date, you are violating or breaching the agreement, and that breach entitles them to compensation.


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