Paying for your big day

Don't let fraud ruin your day - what to be aware of when paying for your big day

With the wedding season in full flow, the County Council reminds people to be aware of the potential risks of wedding fraud.

The average cost of a wedding is increasing and you will be paying out to multiple vendors, including photographers, caterers, reception venues and travel companies, to name a few.  Many of these services will require booking at least several months in advance and you may be obliged to pay a deposit or even the full balance at the time. 

So here is a list of handy hints and tips to be aware of:

DOs
  • DO research the services you require and make sure you are dealing with a bona fide person or company
  • DO explore the internet for reviews and ratings and ask the vendor to provide details of past clients you can speak to, you should do this even if using companies recommended by a trustworthy friend or source
  • DO meet with wedding photographer and ask for sample albums
  • DO compare prices and ideally get several quotations.  An estimate may vary but a quotation is a fixed and binding price
  • DO ensure you obtain a contract before paying money for services.  Make certain you fully read and understand what you are signing and note the terms of cancellation
  • DO read the small print.  Ask for terms and conditions before you hand over money
  • DO make sure you have a business/company name and a geographical address for all businesses that you use, whether it is flowers, cakes, or even the venue!  If it is a limited company always ask for the company name as well as the trading name.  This is particularly important if you are buying things over the internet.  Any business that is not willing to provide these details may not be a company you want to trust to be involved in your big day
  • DO pay for goods and services over £100 on your credit card - or even just the deposit.  As long as it is over £100 your credit card provider will then share the responsibility if anything happens later in the contract and will provide you with protection under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit ACT, for purchase above £100 and below £30,000.  This means that even if a Company goes into liquidation before your big day, you could claim a refund through your Credit Card Company
  • DO seriously consider wedding insurance, polices vary in cover and can be purchased up to two years in advance.  They can protect you from events that would not be covered under the Consumer Credit Act
  • DO contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Service if you need any advice about a contract you are thinking of entering into or one that you have already agreed to.
DON'Ts 
  • DON'T sign paperwork without reading all the small print first.  Businesses may not tell you upfront about a term in the contract that may affect you later
  • DON'T allow a business to pressure you into agreeing to or signing anything you are not happy with.  don't be afraid to walk from anything you don't feel 100% comfortable with
  • DON'T rush into big purchases and decisions - taking time to think about what you really want before you agree to something could save you a lot of money and stress in the  future
  • DON'T assume you can cancel a contract for goods or services at a later date, most contracts you will not be able to cancel.

For more information about consumer advice and problems with services visit Citizens Advice Consumer Service 

To report any consumer issues please contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 0345 04 05 06

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