What can I do about a last minute increase in cost f a venue states in its contract that I must exclusively deal with their alcohol vendor?

UPDATED: Apr 13, 2015

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What can I do about a last minute increase in cost f a venue states in its contract that I must exclusively deal with their alcohol vendor?

I want alcohol served at my wedding reception. This was 6 months ago and I’ve booked my wedding at the Arboretum and have been talking with their alcohol vendor. Now we fast forward to now and I’m told that because of some new law their alcohol vendor will no longer be used effective immediately and their new vendor will have to charge me for additional permit fees and services. It’s too late to change my wedding venue and my wedding is next week! I may not even be able to get a permit in time because it usually takes 10 days! Do I have any rights?

Asked on April 13, 2015 under Business Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

If you agreed to only use their vendor in a signed contract, then you would not have any rights unless you can show that they committed fraud: deliberately misrepresented (lied about) the likely costs or the identity of the vendor in order to get you to sign. However, if the changes came unexpectedly and/or due to factors beyond their control, you would not have any rights. (In addition, *if* they are telling truth about the new law, they would not be liable or responsible for its effects.) If they had misrepresented (committed fraud), you'd have the right to rescind or cancel the contract entirely--which most likely would not help you, given the timing--or could later seek damages or compensation in a lawsuit, if necessary.

If you end up not being able to serve alcohol at your wedding, you could not be charged for it (or related fees), but that's small comfort.

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