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Cancelling Check for Wedding Reception-Services Not Rendered to Contract

Discussion in 'Small Claims & Municipal Court' started by emmym18, May 10, 2011.

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  1. emmym18

    emmym18 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I just got married on Saturday, May 7th. We had our reception hall reserved from 6 PM to 1 AM, however we were "kicked out" at 11:30 due to 2 of our guests receiving injuries and the ambulance being called. That is just the start of our concerns, we paid for a premium bar, which was not given to us until after 2 hours of the dinner being started because my husband then realized we were not being served what we asked for. Our dinner was also changed, being we were served roast beef compared to steak, mostaccioli was pasta with diced tomatoes thrown atop, roasted chicken was not cooked thoroughly (one guest had to send chicken back because it was bleeding), we had horrible service at the head table and guests tables. I, the bride, waited 20 minutes for a sprite and then my husband had to fetch my white russian for me because our wait staff never came to check on us, to which he was told we didn't have it available. We were not informed that the chef we did two taste tests with quit before our reception. The lights were kept on the entire time of the night, although we asked numerous time for them to be dimmed. Not a particularly big deal, but I was supposed to have navy blue napkins, instead we had white. All in all, we cancelled the check out of disgust and disappointment of services not being rendered to contract. Do we have to contact the venue? Or are we in the right and we can wait until they contact us? They already have 1/3 of the negotiated price, as was the deposit request. Are there any legal ramifications for what we've done?
     
  2. Proserpina

    Proserpina Moderator

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    You're likely going to be sued.

    You really cannot cancel a check like that - service WAS provided, even though it wasn't what you thought you were getting.

    You also need to look at your actual contract. It's likely that there is are several clauses protecting the venue owners.
     
  3. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    OP, Prosperina is spot on, again!

    One more thing, you could also face criminal charges for stopping payment on the check.

    In Michigan, you can face criminal charges for stopping payment on a check, unless you can show there was a good faith dispute. That is very hard to do and must be done with precision.

    You can also be sued by the merchant for treble damages!
    If the check was for $3,000, it could end up costing you $9,000. If I were you, I'd speak to a lawyer, ASAP!!!
     
  4. emmym18

    emmym18 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    We did not have a signed contract but all of our email correpondence does state our time was to be until 1 AM. At 11:00-11:15, the manager cut my DJ off and said everyone was to leave. The check was for the amount of $2,840.
     
  5. Proserpina

    Proserpina Moderator

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    You really do need to speak to an attorney.

    You could end up paying triple damages for stopping that check.
     
  6. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    Was anyone in your party misbehaving, causing a commotion, being loud, getting drunk, causing a disturbance, or were the police called?

    If something negative was occurring the management had a right to shut things down. Did you discuss this with a member of their management team?
     
  7. emmym18

    emmym18 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    2 of my guests fell. One fell and hit her head, causing a concussion and has to be off work 10 days. The other fell on the dance floor and broke her arm.
     
  8. Proserpina

    Proserpina Moderator

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    Was alcohol served at your reception?

    (Though it really doesn't matter - the bottom line is you owe the money, and you could be sued)
     
  9. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    That might explain why the management shut your event down early.

    You are responsible to police the behavior of your guests.

    Stopping payment in that check could be much more costlier than you ever imagined.

    You might want to discuss your options with an attorney, or try and make amends with the facility's owners.
     
  10. Michael Wechsler

    Michael Wechsler Administrator Staff Member

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    I'm very sorry to hear what happened at your wedding. Being a musician who has played at many weddings and fortunately never having been the cause of a day to remember for all the wrong reasons, I certainly understand what it's like on both sides of the equation. Hopefully your guests still had a good time, even if the wrong food was served and some mishaps occurred. A few thoughts.

    1. What check did you cancel? I don't recall you specifying what it was for and when it was given.

    2. I'll assume you gave the manager the check after the party concluded for the remaining balance. If so, why did you give them a check instead of refusing to do so and demanding that they negotiate a reasonable price to resolve their failure to deliver as per the agreement? I'm sure you felt pressured, wrong place wrong time if this was given right after the reception. Still, that is not a good sign if you have done so as it implies that what went wrong wasn't as bad as you're telling us, whether or not true.

    3. The advice here about stopping checks is not fearmongering. You can read here about some of the unfortunate consequences that have occurred. That said, don't be afraid just yet.

    4. I'm not sure that all the complaints you've made are the result of negligence of the venue. Some of them are minor even though I understand you feel that you deserve not to pay the full amount due to failure to deliver.

    My gut feeling - and I'm not telling you what to do - is to call them and try to settle this matter. I would be reasonable and take any half reasonable discount they may offer. I would make a list of everything they knew they did wrong. I'd take all the supporting documentation with me since you didn't have a written contract, which doesn't work to your benefit. It's difficult to say what was agreed upon with certainty. If you've got emails, have them ready. Schedule a face to face sit down, tell them how you feel, and pay them at the end of the discussion. Remember that even if they did do some things wrong, they should get paid at least for the value of what you received, not reduced at a loss because napkins were one color and not another and guests may have received beef instead of steak. This is the place a small claims court judge will probably go and this way you'll avoid having to deal with the potential horrors that go with check canceling a payment tendered without objection. It's also not an astronomical amount of money that might leave you with the wrong type of lasting feeling about the happiest day of your lives.

    Put this behind you. Have a wonderful life and best of luck to you both.
     

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