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Thread: Help with Consumer Act

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    Help with Consumer Act

    Hey i dont know where to post this so please let me know if it is wrong.

    We where getting married on the 1st april 2012 at a venue. We paid the deposit of close to R30 000 and for unforeseen circumstances we have had to call the wedding off. The venue has told us that we loose the entire deposit ? Surely we should be able to get something back? If anyone knows what i should do it would be great

    Kind Regards
    Massimo

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    Email problem BusNavig8's Avatar
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    What were the terms of the agreement esp the cancellation terms?

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    Platinum Member sterne.law@gmail.com's Avatar
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    You can definteley get your money back, probably most.

    Even if the contract is worded that deposits are cancelled, such a clause is contra to the CPA and will be struck down.
    Anthony Sterne

    www.acumenholdings.co.za
    DISCLAIMER The above is merely a comment in discussion form and an open public arena. It does not constitute a legal opinion or professional advice in any manner or form.

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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    By my understanding, the venue can claim "reasonable" cancellation costs, though. Just what is considered "reasonable" and how it is calculated is probably going to be in issue here.
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    Gold Member IMHO's Avatar
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    What is the purpose of a deposit? Surely it is to confirm your attendance, so the place is kept for you. Your deposit guarantee that the venue is not given to someone else. What would you do if you arrive and are told, sorry, we can not give you the venue, due to unforeseen circumstances we had to give it to this very deserving case.

    What did you think the deposit is for? That if you cancel, you will get it back? Or to safeguard the entity against a no show? I think you are very unfair. Because you had a problem, now the people who rented you the venue must lose out? It is not their misfortune, it is yours! They now already lost out by not getting the full amount they would have, if they rented the venue to someone else. They have their own set of misfortunes, do other people have to pay up on their behalf? I think not!

    As far as the amount is concerned, you agreed to it, as fair, by paying it. It is a deposit, not a down payment on your wedding!

    If the venue was not used that night and stood empty, I have no sympathy. If it was rented out after all, you may have a case in getting something back, in which case the people owing the venue would probably have offered you a fair outcome, covering their real expenses and profit loss.

    I think this is just a stunt to try and use the consumer act, to get out of your responsibilities. I can only hope that the consumer act will not allow the abuse of the act like that!
    ~Expenses will eat you alive! - My first Boss~

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    Platinum Member sterne.law@gmail.com's Avatar
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    IMHO you have some valid points and quite possibly you respond from a supplier perspective.

    I have had substantial involvement in leisure industries and events and cancellations are often a problem and do cost money.

    However, to return to Dave's point, a reasonable amount can be withheld.
    It is the balance that needs to be struck. It is not fair for the supplier to gain a benefit for doing nothing, but neither should they lose unnecessary funds.
    Turning to reasonable deductions with particular reference to the above situation:

    If the company has already spent money on stuff that can't be recovered and was very specific to the booking would be a reasonable claim.

    The nature of the goods: A wedding dress made would be very specific and thus difficult to sell.
    The time span or length of notice: This offers the company an opportunity to book it out, hence this is not such a reasonable claim.
    Reasonable potential to find an alternative consumer:If the company turned down a booking and then also fails to make another that would strengthen their claim. If however they have not turned a booking down and then fail to make another booking, then they would have a minimal claim if any.

    Where the cancellation is due to illness or death then no cancellation fee may be charged.

    A further issue on deposits: All deposits must be kept in a separate account or in a manner that shows that the money was not used. That is, a deposit may not be used for any purpose other than the persons transaction
    Anthony Sterne

    www.acumenholdings.co.za
    DISCLAIMER The above is merely a comment in discussion form and an open public arena. It does not constitute a legal opinion or professional advice in any manner or form.

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    Gold Member IMHO's Avatar
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    possibly you respond from a supplier perspective.
    Yes I am. And I am fed up with people who try to shove there misfortune onto me. You are right, it is not fair to try and make double profit out of a cancellation and I never do it. I also take into consideration whether I showed bookings away. But this is very difficult to prove. You do not take details of customers that you could not help. A customer will phone and ask for availability on a specific date. You answer negative and he hangs up. You have no way to prove this. Therefore I expect to be believed. I have many examples to prove that I do refunds if I did not turn someone away, but that discretion is up to me.

    I once had the same situation with my fathers death. I was able to change flight arrangements to a later date, (pure luck, as my seat could be filled) but accommodation was my lost. Death certificate did not help anything.

    As far as the deposit account goes, good point. Never thought it necessary to have a separate account. Is it really necessary though?

    Where the cancellation is due to illness or death then no cancellation fee may be charged.
    This one really upset me. That is not my misfortune. Why must I lose money because of it? I will deal with it no different from other cases. The point is to be fair. Charge what you spend and can not recover. Take re-rent possibility into consideration. Be fair, work both ways.


    But you did not answer the question. What is the purpose of a deposit? Is it not the clients prerogative to go elsewhere if he is not prepared to lose the deposit, due to it being too high or unfair, in case of cancellation? In my view, the client is fully aware of this beforehand, but fight it just to try afterwards to minimize his losses. An attitude of lets try, if it works, it works, if it does not, then at least I tried.

    What makes me further upset is that the consumer act seems to be unfair and does not take all sides into consideration. At least, that is what it is made out to be in the media. For goodness sake, how can you buy an item, use it and then after some time decide it is not what you want, or you can not afford it anymore and then return it for a full refund, with some lame excuse? I have seen this many times at a big retail store where I worked for 20 years. Xmas presents is the big thing. Toys is highest on the list. Dad needs a fix from his babelas, then Johnny's present that he broke or does not like so much is returned the day after Goodwill day and Johnny is promised something else at a later date.

    Another example I have to do with lately is hunting bows. So this mean a customer can buy a R14 000 bow on Thursday, go for the weekend hunt and return it for a full refund on Monday! The thing is used, for goodness sake! You know by how much you have to mark it down to be able to make someone interested in it again? And if you pretend it to be new, someone is going to know and spill the beans. Gone is your reputation! Great for the customer, but what is going to happen to business?
    ~Expenses will eat you alive! - My first Boss~

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    Email problem BusNavig8's Avatar
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    Guys, these are what you would call business risks - how can you expect to be in business without the risk of being in business, So IOW you want the reward but dont want to take on the risk. We write off literally thousands in lost fees a year because people take the work that we do and code it on efiling themselves and SARS has made it easy for them by a click of a button they can transfer the profile from us to them and there is naught we can do about it.

    The CPA is to protect the consumer against unscrupulous operators of which there are many and the retail trade are the worst. They dont give the consumer the correct advice, put them in the picture regarding warranties and guaranties so that they can make an informed decision.

    Life happens, and I promise you that if you had a good business and a good name you will be able to recover your costs, re hire the venue and be able to only deduct the reasonable wasted costs. If it were me, I would create so much goodwill out of the exercise and ensure that I received at least a referral so that I could occupy the venue for that time. If you played your cards right, you would be able to get that referral and much more.

    Businesses need to learn how to leaverage their situations and not take advantage of consumers by being unjustifyibly enriched which is what has been happening in the past.

    Just for interest sake the CPA does not take on cases where there is no case so there is fairness involved. If you get a reference number for a complaint, then you know you have a valid complaint.

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    Email problem BusNavig8's Avatar
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    Warren Buffet has two rules - rule 1 - dont lose money and Rule 2 - Dont forget Rule 1.

    Protect yourself within the Act, and reduce your Business Risk. This will take some strategy on your part but will be worth it in the end and you would need to know the CPA and how you can use it to your benefit and believe me you can. Dont moan about something if your not going to do anything about it. Do something!

  10. #10
    Gold Member IMHO's Avatar
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    Guys, these are what you would call business risks - how can you expect to be in business without the risk of being in business, So IOW you want the reward but dont want to take on the risk. We write off literally thousands in lost fees a year because people take the work that we do and code it on efiling themselves and SARS has made it easy for them by a click of a button they can transfer the profile from us to them and there is naught we can do about it.
    Well, it is not nearly the same thing we talk about here, is it? The hospitality industry have its own set of risks, many times even life threatening, competition is fierce, market is shrinking and more and more operators entering, Govt taxes and levies invented by the day, admin getting more and more, costs skyrocketing, labour issues getting worse and worse, but it has nothing to do with committing to a deposit and then try and wiggle out of it.

    because people take the work that we do and code it on efiling themselves
    And why not? It is a rip off to pay R250 to enter a CC on line and pay the annual R100 fee, totaling R350. I get charged R1050 for 3 CC's, which the anual levy is only R300 and the work is 15 min on line on a slow connection.
    ~Expenses will eat you alive! - My first Boss~

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