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Thread: Covid: Contract wording going forward.

  1. #1
    Shaun's Avatar
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    Default Covid: Contract wording going forward.

    Have any of you reworded your contract due to covid?

    How many of you have returned deposits when asked due to covid (even if you think your current contract covers you)?

    I've returned a few when asked. Thankfully most have rescheduled (or have provisionally rescheduled awaiting confirmation of dates the venue has available). 3 so far have requested their deposits, and rather than fight the case that booking fees are no refundable (as per contract they signed) I've just returned the deposit, wished them well and said I hope to work with them in the future. I just haven't had the inclination or head space to do otherwise.

    It's got me thinking though. I want to tweak my T&C's and specifically state that in the case of such a circumstance in future it clear that booking fees are not returnable, even in such unprecedented circumstances such as a recurrance of this in the future.

    I'd be interested to hear everyone else's thoughts.

  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shaun View Post
    Have any of you reworded your contract due to covid?

    How many of you have returned deposits when asked due to covid (even if you think your current contract covers you)?

    I've returned a few when asked. Thankfully most have rescheduled (or have provisionally rescheduled awaiting confirmation of dates the venue has available). 3 so far have requested their deposits, and rather than fight the case that booking fees are no refundable (as per contract they signed) I've just returned the deposit, wished them well and said I hope to work with them in the future. I just haven't had the inclination or head space to do otherwise.

    It's got me thinking though. I want to tweak my T&C's and specifically state that in the case of such a circumstance in future it clear that booking fees are not returnable, even in such unprecedented circumstances such as a recurrance of this in the future.

    I'd be interested to hear everyone else's thoughts.
    I've not returned any deposits so far, but for rebookings the deposits are simply carried forward and the contract amended. If not rebooked, then a fee is retained to cover my costs, which is covered in my contract & Terms & Conditions.

    Covid 19 - is covered in my revised conditions which includes guests/clients and me adhering to social distancing

  3. #3
    Benny Smyth's Avatar
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    Depending on the size of your booking fee, that should cover you for the amount of work you did in creating the booking (client communication, building contracts and invoices etc.). It's not the sexiest aspect of the service that you provide but since that aspect has already been delivered, you are entitled to keep it if you can prove that you've earned it (if you take a £50 booking fee, that'll be easy to justify but if you take a £500 deposit, you'll probably have a harder time justifying it). You can also claim for any additional costs that have occurred because of the booking (consultations, specific song purchases etc.).

    The guidance from the CMA themselves state:

    Sometimes, a consumer will already have received some of the services they have paid for in advance. In those cases, the CMA considers that the consumer would normally be entitled to at least a refund for the services that are not provided. However, where they have already received something of value, consumers should generally be expected to pay for it and they will not usually be entitled to get all their money back.

    In some cases, where Government public health measures prevent a business from providing a service or the consumer from receiving it, the business may be able to deduct a contribution to the costs it has already incurred in relation to the specific contract in question (where it cannot recover them elsewhere).
    Source

    The size of the deposit will dictate whether you are on shaky ground to keep all of it, but don't feel guilty for earning money for the work that you have already done.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Benny Smyth View Post
    Depending on the size of your booking fee, that should cover you for the amount of work you did in creating the booking (client communication, building contracts and invoices etc.). It's not the sexiest aspect of the service that you provide but since that aspect has already been delivered, you are entitled to keep it if you can prove that you've earned it (if you take a £50 booking fee, that'll be easy to justify but if you take a £500 deposit, you'll probably have a harder time justifying it). You can also claim for any additional costs that have occurred because of the booking (consultations, specific song purchases etc.).

    The size of the deposit will dictate whether you are on shaky ground to keep all of it, but don't feel guilty for earning money for the work that you have already done.
    I agree with this. I think £50 or so is easy to justify retaining to cover costs. Better to have this nailed down in your T&C's

  5. #5

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    Remember that any T&Cs changed will only apply to new, future bookings.

    I've not needed to amend any of mine, based on how things have operated throughout this.

    I've been fortunate that I've been able to accommodate any date changes so far.

    Ive had one cancellation, for which I've retained the deposit.

    I've taken the approach on this of trying to be fair:

    Anyone affected during the actual lockdown, if I couldn't accommodate their new date I would refund their deposit.

    Anyone who is clearly outside the lockdown (ie, right now I'd treat that as September onwards), and I couldn't accommodate the new date/they cancelled, I would retain the deposit if they want to move the wedding (as that's through their choice at this stage).

    So I've been a bit more generous than my terms permit, but it's been a highly unusual situation, and one that sits a bit outside of typical terms.

  6. #6
    Vectis's Avatar
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    I would advise breaking down the total cost of the booking somewhat, for example (categorise however you like):

    Total charge: £500, made up as follows:
    Administration associated with planning the event and preparing for the performance - £100
    Pre-event meeting - £50
    Performance, including equipment provision and transport - £350

    Then, in the event of an enforced (or elective) cancellation, you can easily justify keeping back £100 or £150 (based on the example) because this was previously detailed as being separate from "doing the disco".

  7. #7
    Jim - Scotland's Party DJ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vectis View Post
    I would advise breaking down the total cost of the booking somewhat, for example (categorise however you like):

    Total charge: £500, made up as follows:
    Administration associated with planning the event and preparing for the performance - £100
    Pre-event meeting - £50
    Performance, including equipment provision and transport - £350

    Then, in the event of an enforced (or elective) cancellation, you can easily justify keeping back £100 or £150 (based on the example) because this was previously detailed as being separate from "doing the disco".
    I've not had to yet but if need be I will be breaking it down.

    My booking fee is considerably more than £50 so anyone that's got a bee in their bonnet about it is probably going to argue the bit anyway but I'll deal with that if and when I need to.


    As for rewording - I've added a clause about them having insurance, failure to do so may result in loss of blah blah blah. I'm likening it to holiday firms - they're not going to refund or bail you out if you end up ill or fall out with your missus, that's what your insurance is for.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim - Scotland's Party DJ View Post
    As for rewording - I've added a clause about them having insurance, failure to do so may result in loss of blah blah blah. I'm likening it to holiday firms - they're not going to refund or bail you out if you end up ill or fall out with your missus, that's what your insurance is for.
    I added that at the beginning of the year after finding out most venues have it in their T&C - flaw is, they aren't paying out for Covid-19 lol

    Luckily I have had no refunds to make so far (touch wood). Drawback is, I planned a price increase for 2021 which is going to be put on hold which does result in more loss of income but hey ho.

    I haven't added anything to T&C HOWEVER one clause I have added to every rearranged date is that the cancellation periods refer to the original wedding date NOT the rearranged date. I can see lockdown and added stresses resulting in quite a few cancellations. With 2021 almost fully booked already I couldn't take the risk of loads of cancellations next year.

  9. #9
    Benny Smyth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ppentertainments View Post
    I haven't added anything to T&C HOWEVER one clause I have added to every rearranged date is that the cancellation periods refer to the original wedding date NOT the rearranged date. I can see lockdown and added stresses resulting in quite a few cancellations. With 2021 almost fully booked already I couldn't take the risk of loads of cancellations next year.
    What I have in my contract is a specific payment due date and the cancellation terms refer to it as "Six calendar months before payment due date" etc.

    If the event is postponed (and perhaps subsequently cancelled), the due date remains in effect.

  10. #10
    Shaun's Avatar
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    Cheers for the comments guys. I think my current T&C's are pretty secure in the sense that I needn't have paid back the deposit. The head space I was in at the time I just wanted a quick fix to allow me to get myself sorted. It has however made made me look at my T&C's more closely so there is no doubt at all (in black and white) that in the event of another covid wave what the clients are entitled to back.

    I like Martins suggestion, sounds like a good way forward. Thanks all - hope you're all keeping well.

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