Spring is not only prime time for allergies, yard work and gardening, it's also a popular time to get married. Unfortunately, weddings offer opportunities for young couples to be taken in by unscrupulous service providers -- photographers, planners, caterers, limo services and so forth.
“Planning a wedding should be an enjoyable and exciting experience,” New York Attorney General Schneiderman said. “Unfortunately, there are unscrupulous vendors out there eager to prey upon couples who may already be under a great deal of emotional and financial pressure. Couples planning a wedding should be armed with information that will help them recognize and avoid potential consumer scams.”
Schneiderman has these tips:
- Avoid paying cash for products and services. Credit cards offer a dispute process that may help protect consumers.
- Check a company's record with the Better Business Bureau and review any complaint records.
- Insist that the company identify the individual who will be photographing your wedding.It is common for photographers to book more than one wedding on a date and send someone else to shoot the wedding. Make the identity of the photographer part of the contract.
- Check at least three references for weddings that took place within the past three months. Up-to-date references can offer critical insight into a vendor's recent job performance.
- Always review any contract carefully before you sign it. Do not make rushed decisions.
- Get multiple quotes from different vendors before you sign a contract. Talking to multiple businesses will give you more options and a better understanding of the services available.
- Do not pre-pay in full. Hold back 25 percent of the total cost until you have the products in hand. This will create a powerful incentive for service providers like photographers and videographers to complete the contract. In some instances, a photographer who has been paid in full will shoot the wedding and take months to deliver the products.
- Make sure the contract contains due dates for each task. For example, the pre-bridal photograph should be taken by a specified date, the proof should be ready by a specified date and the photograph should be ready within seven days after the consumer makes a selection.
Those who suspect they may have been victimized by an unscrupulous wedding vendor should file a complaint with their state attorney general and with consumer review sites.