Deposit for children's party venue not refundable

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peemac

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A person should assume that a deposit is non-refundable unless stated otherwise. You should not require terms and conditions to tell you something as basic as that.

From CPCC
If I change my mind about buying the item or service, can I get my deposit back?
The obligations of the contract work both ways so the business doesn’t have to return your deposit if you change your mind. For example, if you paid a deposit to a shop to hold an item for you and you later decide you don’t want the item, the shop may not be obliged to refund you your deposit.


Next thing is people will be expecting instructions on how to use a swing! :)
 
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Bronte

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If the company hasn't gone to any expense yet as a result of a cancelled booking, and there is ample time for them to fill the slot, then what they are doing is ensuring they have zero repeat business there from the customer.
"Once you have their money never give it back" even if you don't have to return the money doesn't meet my standard of 'good company'.

If they can say, well, when we took your booking we already ordered X, or turned down another booking for the date, fair enough.
No business can operate like that. It's totally unworkable. Here's the terms and conditions for accommodation I booked recently:

The person who make the booking must be over 21 years old and accepts these conditions on behalf of all member of the party and is responsible for all payments due for the reservation. By submitting a booking you confirm to us that you have read the Terms and Conditions and agree to comply with them
1. A deposit payment is required to confirm a booking. The booking deposit is non-refundable. If the booking is made within 6 weeks of the date of arrival then full payment is required immediately. Booking confirmation together with directions and other relevant information will be sent by e-mail or by post. Where an initial deposit is paid, the balance must be paid within 8 weeks of the holiday commencement date. If the balance is not paid within 7 days of the due date we will assume the booking has been cancelled by the client.
2. If you need to cancel your holiday, or a part thereof, please notify us immediately. A refund of 75% of the balance payment can be made if we can re-let the property for that period. If a cancellation of your holiday, or a part thereof, is made within 4 weeks of the holiday commencement date, no refund will be made. .​


I think all of that is perfectly reasonable.​

I've also booked a holiday in France. Which is in about a months time, I can get zero back if I don't go. All paid upfront at this stage.

There is no point to a booking system if you have to give back the deposits every time as then nobody would treat deposits as something serious. Which is entirely the point of a booking deposit. Otherwise it's not a booking deposit.
 

Bronte

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I'm not suggesting for one minute that there is, but in this case that didn't happen. Explaining the T&Cs after the event is not enough.

Where and when were the terms of the contract explained to the OP and where and when did the OP agree to such terms? Based on the information supplied neither of these pre-conditions to a binding consumer contract were met.
This is pretty basic stuff Mathepac. How much explaination of T&C's does an adult paying a deposit need.

Do you think the French company I've booked and paid my holiday with are wrong if they charge me 100 % if I cancel my holiday within 7 days of it beginning? In other words I'd get no refund. And this despite the fact they may let the accommodation to somebody else?

Do you and others think Ryanair should refund me my flight cost if I tell them six months in advance I won't be flying?
 

odyssey06

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This is pretty basic stuff Mathepac. How much explaination of T&C's does an adult paying a deposit need.
Do you think the French company I've booked and paid my holiday with are wrong if they charge me 100 % if I cancel my holiday within 7 days of it beginning? In other words I'd get no refund. And this despite the fact they may let the accommodation to somebody else?
Do you and others think Ryanair should refund me my flight cost if I tell them six months in advance I won't be flying?
I didn't say they were wrong. I said it wasn't good customer service.

I think there's a massive difference between cancelling within 48 hours of booking, for an event 1 month away, and cancelling within 7 days of an event.
In your case it was all very clearly spelled out in advance, so again the situation is not comparable.

People would be more likely to book if they had a cooling off period... you can cancel an Amazon order without charge once the order hasn't been picked, for example.
 

Bronte

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I didn't say they were wrong. I said it wasn't good customer service.

I think there's a massive difference between cancelling within 48 hours of booking, for an event 1 month away, and cancelling within 7 days of an event.

People would be more likely to book if they had a cooling off period... you can cancel an Amazon order without charge once the order hasn't been picked, for example.
So I used the example of Ryanair and cancelling 6 months in advance.

What you and others are doing is using a very good example of customer service, Amazon. But the truth is Amazon has economies of scale. And fantastic computer systems. So it costs them zero to offer such a cancellation policy. It's part of their concept. And it works.

I ordered for the first time an item of clothing online last month (first and last time I hope - ) Great customer service. I was impressed. And I ordered three items knowing two would go back. (it was a particular issue not relevant to this discussion). But to my amazement I have something like a month to send the items back. I reckon that's a psychological thing. That you then forget to return it as you've so much time.
 

Leo

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But to my amazement I have something like a month to send the items back. I reckon that's a psychological thing. That you then forget to return it as you've so much time.
Online protection is much stronger in that you have the right to return goods within 14 days of receipt, but as you say, extending that to a month can result in fewer returns.
 

Gordon Gekko

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Think about it another way. On Monday I pay a €100 deposit for a child’s party and send out the invites. On Tuesday someone calls the playcentre and offers to hire out the entire place. If the playcentre gave me the old heave ho, the people giving out in this thread would be the same people crying foul.

By offering credit, the provider did the right thing, end of story.
 

mathepac

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There are no other pre-conditions required in contract law.
Apart from the elephant in the room no-one will discuss. "Terms in consumer contracts must always be fair and clear to the consumer." and of course this part this didn't happen "the supplier is obliged to make such terms and conditions available".
 
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mathepac

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On Monday I pay a €100 deposit for a child’s party and send out the invites. On Tuesday someone calls the playcentre and offers to hire out the entire place. If the playcentre gave me the old heave ho, the people giving out in this thread would be the same people crying foul.
and if my aunt had different plumbing she'd be my uncle. It isn't clear to me why you and other contributors want to discuss the OP's uncle when the issue to hand is with his aunt.

Apart from the elephant in the room no-one will discuss. "Terms in consumer contracts must always be fair and clear to the consumer." and of course this part didn't happen "the supplier is obliged to make such terms and conditions available".
 

Gordon Gekko

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The same people ranting and raving about consumer rights would be going apoplectic if the business had contacted the OP and said “we’re really sorry, here’s your deposit back, you can’t actually have that time/date”.
 

odyssey06

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The same people ranting and raving about consumer rights would be going apoplectic if the business had contacted the OP and said “we’re really sorry, here’s your deposit back, you can’t actually have that time/date”.
I didn't see any ranting, raving or apoplexy in the thread? I don't know why you need to categorise peope concerned about consumer rights, or the prons and cons of the situation as ranting and raving.
 

Bronte

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Cancellation policy aka normal business transactions:

1. Dublin Zoo
What is Dublin Zoo’s cancellation policy for birthday parties?
Dublin Zoo has a no refund cancellation policy. Your booking is transferable within 2 months of the date of your event, subject to availability.

What happens if it rains?
Dublin Zoo is predominately an outdoor venue. We advise visitors to dress for the weather. Parties will not be cancelled in the event of rain or bad weather.

2. Party company http://littlelaughs.ie/about/faq-and-tips/

13Booking deposits – we require a €50 booking deposit, this can be sent by bank transfer or bank draft.
14Cancellation policy – there is a €30 cancelation policy for up to 24 hours prior to the day of the party for all packages except for Teepee Slumber Party Package.
and for that Teepee thing
What is your cancellation policy – No cancellation granted within 7 days of booking.
 

Leo

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Apart from the elephant in the room no-one will discuss. "Terms in consumer contracts must always be fair and clear to the consumer."
What elephant? It is absolutely fair that a business may withhold a deposit, that is a well established right under contract and consumer legislation.

and of course this part this didn't happen "the supplier is obliged to make such terms and conditions available".
You seem very sure of that point, but unless you were present, it's just a massive leap on your part. Without knowing the business, only the OP is in a position to tell whether they have their terms & conditions listed on their website, or available on request on the premises. Either of those options satisfies their obligation in this regard. This one in particular has been well tested with cases taken against some of the communications providers. The outcomes there make it clear the onus is on the consumer to seek out and fully understand the terms and conditions prior to handing over their money.

OP, perhaps you could clarify whether you asked to see the T&Cs or whether they are listed on the business website?
 

mathepac

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Did you get a receipt with printed T&Cs?

If you visited the venue were there any signs on display about deposits or did anyone say deposits were non-refundable?

If you used the phone to make the booking, did anyone say deposits were non-refundable? (oral contracts are enforceable contracts)
My first post on the topic was an attempt to establish if the venue's T&Cs were available to the OP in advance in order to try and establish if, as citizens information states, the terms in this particular consumer contract were fair and clear to the consumer. In the absence of a response, I'm working with the initial information provided.
 

mathepac

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This is pretty basic stuff Mathepac. How much explaination of T&C's does an adult paying a deposit need.
The tests about T&Cs in consumer contracts are:
  1. Were they available to the consumer?
  2. Were they clear to the consumer?
  3. Were they fair to the consumer?
In the multiple examples you quote where they were available, you made (or could make) your own decisions about clarity and fairness. No reasonable person* can apply scenarios about known T&Cs to situations where they seem to have been unknown to the OP and therefore not clear and, in the OP's case, patently unfair.

*the man on the Clapham omnibus
 

Leo

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I'm working with the initial information provided.
Fair enough, you're assuming the OP asked for the T&Cs but did not get them or were somehow fobbed off, which may well have happened. I'm assuming they didn't ask and didn't look up the website.
 

mathepac

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In the absence of information to the contrary from the OP, I'm assuming they weren't available and thus weren't clear and they aren't fair, not by any stretch of the imagination. Putting words in my key-board won't work :)
 

Leo

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In the absence of information to the contrary from the OP, I'm assuming they weren't available
It is reasonable to assume that had to OP failed to obtain a copy of the T&Cs after asking for them, they might have mentioned that. It would put their case in a whole different light.

OP, if you want to come back and clarify, please do, otherwise, let's leave this here as some of the misinformation to date really serves no one.
 
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