What Happens to Deposit Money If Covid Causes Cancellation of a Wedding?
If a Supplier to a Wedding, Including a Banquet Hall or Other Reception Venue, Is Unable to Provide Services Within 30 Days of the Scheduled Date Then the Right to Cancel Is Statutory and Available Regardless of Any Contract Clauses to the Contrary.
A Helpful Guide For How to Determine and Understand Your Legal Rights Under the Consumer Protection Act, 2002
Your wedding was very well planned; and but for Covid, would be as beautiful as your dreams. While the The Wedding Lawyer may be unable to stop a pandemic and provide your Plan A, The Wedding Lawyer may be able to help you with Plan B; including, helping you to get your deposit money back from various vendors and suppliers including the reception venue. Even if your contract contains rescheduling clauses that appear to provide the venue with a right to decide when your wedding must be rescheduled, The Wedding Lawyer may be able to help you to make your Plan B, truly 'your' Plan B.
Involves Business-to-Consumer Contracts
For most contracts involving wedding suppliers, being those contracts that were entered into in advance of the wedding date and where the contracted value of the service hired is more than fifty ($50.00) dollars, such contracts qualify as a Future Performance Agreement per the Consumer Protection Act, 2002, S.O. 2002, Chapter 30, Schedule A. The Consumer Protection Act, 2002 is a general statute applicable to many types of business-to-consumer relationships including relations involving wedding suppliers and engaged couples.
Within the Consumer Protection Act, 2002, there are various terms and conditions that are unalterable, meaning statutory and invariable despite what a contract may say. The statutory rights include a right to cancel a contract, including the contract with a wedding vendor, when the wedding event becomes impossible. The statutory right is absent of exceptions for pandemic, government ordered shutdowns, or any other condition. The rights provided within the Consumer Protection Act, 2002, are available to you irregardless of why the event is unable to proceed. Among the rights is the right to cancel whereas, essentially, any wedding contract, whether with the reception venue or any other wedding supplier, the goods or services contracted for are delayed by thirty (30) days or more, the consumer (that is you) is entitled to cancel the agreement with penalties. This is stated clearly in section 26 of the Consumer Protection Act, 2002 wherein it is stated:
26 (1) A consumer may cancel a future performance agreement at any time before delivery under the agreement or the commencement of performance under the agreement if the supplier,
(a) does not make delivery within 30 days after the delivery date specified in the agreement or an amended delivery date agreed to by the consumer in writing; or
(b) does not begin performance of his, her or its obligations within 30 days after the commencement date specified in the agreement or an amended commencement date agreed to by the consumer in writing.
Furthermore, for events that qualify for the rights and protections provided within the Consumer Protection Act, 2002, any contractual force majeure and doctrine of frustration clause that may attempt to negate the right to cancel the agreement and obtain a refund is void per section 7 of the Consumer Protection Act, 2002 and inapplicable whereas section 7 states:
7 (1) The substantive and procedural rights given under this Act apply despite any agreement or waiver to the contrary.
Partially Performed Services
As said above, the Consumer Protection Act, 2002, is a generalized law, applicable to all business-to-consumer relationship, including relations between wedding suppliers and engaged couples, among others. Among other types of situations, the Consumer Protection Act, 2002 is applicable to renovation projects between contractors and homeowners; and accordingly, case law decisions involving the Consumer Protection Act, 2002 regarding a renovation project will have the same legally reasoning apply to wedding contracts. Accordingly, it is necessary to review and consider that, per the case of Sawh v Par-Tek Construction Services Inc., 2017 CanLII 53634, when a consumer rightfully cancels a contract, and is rightfully entitled to return of a deposit money, the Sawh case states that the supplier is entitled to keep a quantum meruit, meaning an amount that it was worth, if the supplier incurred expenses or contributed value prior to the cancellation.