I was not sure if I was going to say anything about this, but I needed to put this out there, and hopefully save at least one person from being stranded and desperate.
If you are booking with a company online, especially if the deal is a “Super Great Deal”, PLEASE check the reviews on the company. We were fortunately in a position these last couple weekends to be able to help out a bride & groom, and a wife trying to plan her husband’s 50th birthday party. In both cases, the company that they had booked with (and already paid in full) canceled on them less than 48 hours before their party.
For the wedding, they were only in for a photo booth. The birthday party was a much sadder story. She had booked an entertainment package that was supposed to include a DJ, Photographer and Photo Booth. They canceled everything on her two days before the party. Thank you to Photography Atelier and DJ Leah Nicole for helping me to save the party!
Here are a couple tips to cover you just in case:
- If you have not spoken directly with, or met with someone, paying by credit card is your best bet. If they are contacting you from an out of state/area number this is something to flag also.
- Ask for references, reviews, photos from previous events, anything that you can use to check the legitimacy of the company.
- Make sure to ask for a contract, direct contact info, and check on their cancellation policies. Stop immediately if they can not provide all three of these things. Not only are these things in place to protect the vendor, they also protect you, the client. For the cancellation policies, it is common to have a small non-refundable deposit. Any company that is requiring payment in full right away, or more than a week or two prior to the event, make sure that their cancellation policy allows a reasonable time frame to cancel prior to the event without forfeiting the whole fee. Also, check on what their time frame is to refund. If it is not within 24 hours for a cancellation on their part, or withing 30 days if you cancel, make sure you look very closely at their reviews before you book.
- Hopefully it doesn’t, but should something happen where you are not comfortable with the company anymore, or if they should get cancel your booking, ask for an immediate refund. In the case of my two clients, this is where paying with a credit card becomes very important. If they will not immediately reverse the funds, contact your credit card. Make sure you keep record of all your communications. Your credit card company will generally reverse the funds to your account and then go after the vendor themselves.
And, if you do end up in a jam, give us a call! We are here to help as much as we can. Let us know the situation and we will save the day if we are able. Over the years, we have developed a number of trusted contacts in the wedding and event industry, and we will do everything we can.
Thank you and enjoy the rest of the summer!
P.S. I do feel I need to add that the reason we knew of both of the events that need saving is because the company they had booked through sub-contracts to us for some of their events. This issue was newly brought to my attention with these two events and caused us to question whether to continue to accept business from this company. Let me first say that their business practices are NOT ours. As our past clients can attest to, we will go out of our way and then some to make sure that when you book with The Photomatic Photobooth, everything goes exactly as you had hoped if not better. We want the photo booth to be the easiest (and maybe the best) thing you book for your event. Our final decision was not easy to come to as it takes a lot of risk on our shoulders, however, we decided that we would continue to accept bookings from this company for one simple reason: If they are going to continue to leave clients stranded, we want to be in a position to help the client if at all possible. No one should have their day ruined because of someone else’s poor business practices. Finally, at this time, we will not be naming the company in question. If you are greatly concerned, please contact us and we will discuss it with you in private.