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What do I need to know about wedding insurance?

We all love a good fairy tale wedding but what if the wedding day doesn’t always end up being the fairy tale you deserve. Should you consider taking out wedding insurance?

What is wedding insurance?

Just like other insurance policies, wedding insurance covers you financially if something ruins your big day or if it has to be cancelled or delayed. It is particularly useful where you have paid a number of deposits and then realise your big day cannot go ahead.

What to consider before taking out wedding insurance?

  1. What is your wedding expenditure?

Where you have spent in the region of £100 – £30,000 using your credit card, thanks to Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act, you should be able to claim your money back from your credit card provider. This applies to instances where a deposit has been paid.

If you have not used a credit card or spent above this amount, it maybe worth obtaining added protection by way of wedding insurance.

  1. Does your home insurance policy have provision for weddings?

Before taking out wedding insurance, check your home insurance policy, which may make provision for weddings.

  1. Are there any risk factors that could indicate the need for wedding insurance?

Weddings often get cancelled due to the death or hospitalisation of close relatives. Therefore, if you have any vulnerable relatives who could impact the progress of the wedding day if they fall ill, it may be a sensible idea to carry out a wedding insurance.

However, it is important to remember that you cannot cover a situation that you already knew about.

What is and isn’t covered in wedding insurance?

Insurance policies may differ in terms of what they do and don’t cover. However, typically they will cover:

  • Cancellation or rearrangement of a wedding or reception due to illness, accident or bereavement of a member of the main wedding party.
  • A supplier going out of business
  • Loss or damage due to accident, fire or theft to the ceremonial attire, wedding rings, outfits, gifts, flowers, wedding car and wedding stationary
  • The price to retake photographs and video
  • Legal expense
  • Personal liability

The following is usually not covered:

  • Any loss, damage, liability, cost or expense of any kind arising from an event occurring before the period of insurance or caused deliberately by your close relatives or a member of the wedding party.
  • Any loss, damage, liability, cost or expense due to wear and tear.
  • There are sometimes strict rules where theft has occurred, so you are advised to read the rules.
  • Honeymoons are not covered as standard but some providers may include these within your wedding insurance policy.

How much to cover?

You may find it useful to list all your expenses on a spreadsheet to work out the overall cost for your wedding day or reception. This will assist you when you choose the most appropriate wedding insurance cover.

How much does it cost?

Wedding insurance can range from £30.00 to more than £200?

For more information about wedding insurance contact: info@theweddinglawyer.co.uk

 

 

Dan Kerr Brides goes into administration. What you need to know?

On Tuesday 18 April 2017, it was announced that the Dan Kerr bridal boutique, which has stores in Preston and Blackpool, has closed its doors and removed stock from displays as the administrators move in. A representative from the family run bridal shop, which had been running for over 100 years stated that “We have no alternative but to close down” and that “individual letters will be sent to each customer in relation to dresses which have been ordered or paid for”. Consumers are instructed to wait for letters and to contact Leonard Curtis Recovery if they would like further information regarding the operations of the business. However, in the meantime, the below may assist you.

What is administration?

An insolvency firm has been called in to run the company, and obtain as much cash as it can for creditors by selling or utilising its assets. In this case, Dan Kerr has instructed insolvency practitioners Leonard Curtis Recovery to handle the administration. Leonard Curtis Recovery is likely to collect any assets and try and sell what is can. The cash raised will then be distributed to creditors in order of priority.

Priority of payments following administration

The priority in which creditors are paid is usually as follows:

  1. Secured creditors – E.g. banks – if the company have borrowed money secured on property/assets. According to Companies House, it would appear that Dan Kerr (Brides) Limited have outstanding liabilities to HSBC Bank PLC and Midland Bank PLC.
  2. Insolvency Practitioners – e.g. Leonard Curtis Recovery.
  3. Employees – Redundancy pay and wages
  4. Everyone else – including customers, HMRC and any additional money owed to employees.

Therefore, you will note that customers are low down in the priority list that could make it difficult (though not impossible) to obtain refunds from the bridal shop.

Can you get your money back?

It is our understanding that Dan Kerr have stock and it maybe the case that some of this stock has already been allocated to customers. Therefore, at this stage, there maybe a possibility that your orders have been fulfilled and it may be worth checking with your Dan Kerr/Leonard Curtis representative to what extent your order has or can be fulfilled. It maybe the case that Dan Kerr have entered into an arrangement with another company to meet their outstanding obligations to customers. You should check if this has been the case.

If you have ordered a wedding dress and the order has not been fulfilled as yet, there is no guarantee you will either get your wedding dress or your money back from Dan Kerr.

From what we understand about the situation with Dan Kerr, there is no evidence that the insolvency company will be running the company as a going concern, which means the company has ceased trading. This will complicate things as far as refunds are concerned.

As you will see from the priority list above, whilst it is not impossible, it is unlikely you will get a full refund from the administrators. If you do, it is often a negligible amount.

What are your options?

1.Did you pay by credit card?

If you purchase cost between £100 – £30,000 and you paid either a deposit or the full amount by credit card, then your credit card company is liable under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act. Please note, the £100 or more threshold is for a single item. Therefore, it is unlikely that you will be protected if you bought say 5 dresses for £90.

The Section 75 protection means that whatever rights you have against Dan Kerr, you now have against your credit card provider. You are advised to contact your credit card company explaining the situation. If you have any receipts for your purchased items, ensure you take a picture/photocopy of these, as you may need to submit these as proof of purchase. Please be advised that your credit card provider may expect you to contact Dan Kerr in the first instance to understand the latest position and obtain confirmation that Dan Kerr are unable to provide you with a refund.

Click here for a template letter to send to your credit card company.

2. Try relying on Chargeback?

If you paid for your wedding dress using either of the following methods:

  • Debit cards – Visa, Maestro, Visa Electron or Mastercard debit card (any amount – even under £100)
  • Prepaid Visa or Mastercard (any amount – even under £100)
  • Credit Cards – Visa, Mastercard or Amex Credit card (Under £100 only. If it’s over £100 use Section 75 (in step 1 above).

You could try using the Chargeback system.

This is a system where your bank gets cash back from the Dan Kerr’s payment processing bank.

However, unlike with credit cards (in step 1 above), this is not a legal protection and operates based on the internal rules of banks. Therefore, you are advised to contact your bank to see whether you can rely on this system.

Please note, you must complain within 120 days of realising there is a problem (not from the date of transaction). If you heard about the Dan Kerr administration on Tuesday 18 April 2017 your 120-day time limit has commenced.

3. Did you pay in cash or by cheque? 

Things get complicated where you have paid using cash or cheque as you will not be able to rely on the protection discussed in step 1 and 2 above. Our advice would be to see how far your order had reached with Dan Kerr and check to see whether your order had been processed.

4. Wedding insurance

If you have taken out wedding insurance, it is worth checking your insurance policy/contacting your insurance company to see whether you are covered in the event of a wedding supplier entering into administration. When contacting your insurance company you should have the following details to hand;

  1. The date of purchase
  2. The amount of purchase
  3. Proof of purchase
  4. The excess on your policy
  5. Your insurance policy
  6. The date you found out about the issue with Dan Kerr
  7. Any correspondence with Dan Kerr.

Should you need any further information, please contact info@theweddinglawywer.co.uk

See our online resources for a template Section 75 letter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A very quick legal guide to getting married abroad.

It is important to remember that the legalities surrounding an international wedding can be slightly more complex compared to a conventional UK wedding.

Here is our quick guide to getting married abroad:

  1. Documentation – Depending on which country you are planning to get married, you may need to provide certain documentation for your marriage. The information requirements can often vary from country to country. You are able to obtain guidance if you visit the Government Website (https://www.gov.uk/marriage-abroad). The website has a step by step guide to assist you in understanding your obligations as to documentation.
  1. Marriage certificate – You will not be able to obtain a British marriage certificate if you get married abroad. You can still have the marriage recognised in the UK, provided you comply with the local law of the country of marriage. (See Destination Weddings – Are they recognised in the UK?)
  1. Insurance – it is recommended that you take out suitable wedding insurance in the UK which will provide cover for the wedding in the country of choice. Before enrolling onto a policy, ensure you are clear on what the policy covers and what is excluded. Click here for more information about wedding insurance.  In the event that there may be an exchange of high value gifts at the international wedding, guests are advised to check that their travel insurance adequately covers the value of the gifts in the event that they are lost, stolen or damaged. Quite often, we have noticed travellers take out a generic insurance to cover them for the whole year. Therefore, if you are expecting a high valued gift at a destination wedding, ensure your insurance cover is adequate. If need be, consider upgrading your policy. Ensure the hotel / apartment can provide you with a safe big enough to fit any high valued gifts.
  1. Contracts – It is advisable to ensure that any contract you sign for a service being provided in another country contains a “jurisdiction clause” which states that the Agreement shall be governed and construed in accordance with the law of England and Wales. In the event of dispute, this will assist you in resolving the dispute by using the courts in England and Wales.

An example of the clause that should be inserted is as follows:

“This Agreement shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the law of England and Wales. Each party irrevocably agrees to submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales over any claims or matter arising under or in connection with this Agreement”.

  1. Make provision for site visits before the big day – Where possible, aim to visit the venue at least once before the big day to gain an appreciation of the facilities which will assist in managing your expectations for the big day.
  1. Ensure suppliers are fully briefed about the wedding venue and facilities before entering into a contract – In the event of you booking suppliers from the UK, avoid entering any contracts until the suppliers have gained a full understanding of the venue. This may require them to speak with the management of the venue or in some cases going out for a site visit. Problems could occur where you have entered into a contract, only to find the contract price increases after your have committed due to additional equipment being needed which was not appreciated at the time of entering the contract.
  1. Have agreements and emails printed before your leave the UK – Much of the planning for a destination wedding will take place via email. Therefore, before departing the UK to the country of your wedding, ensure you have hard copies of all the agreements, itineraries and plans so you can ensure all agreements have been fully complied with. Do not rely on Wi-Fi or printers at your hotel to assist you in digging out such information once you have arrived at your destination.

For any more information about the legalities of getting married abroad – contact info@theweddinglawyer.co.uk

 

 

 

 

Venue Contracts: Checklist before signing the terms and conditions

Couples usually get a huge sense of relief once their venue is booked. After all, once the venue is sorted the remainder of the wedding planning can continue. However, whilst it is appreciated that there is often a need for speed when securing a venue, care should be taken before signing on the dotted line,

Look out for the below points before signing the terms and conditions with your venue. If the venue terms and conditions do not mention the below, it is recommended that you address these points with them before signing.

  1. Ensure you have the full Agreement in front of you

The terms and conditions for a wedding venue is usually made up of:

  • The Particulars or Schedule (usually a separate document to the terms and conditions)
  • The General Terms and Conditions

Both documents are extremely important. You should always ensure you have both documents in front of you when you carry out your review before signing. It maybe the case that one document cross refers to the other document, therefore to understand what you are about to sign, it is a good idea to have all the documents to hand.

The Particulars/Schedule are specific to your individual booking. Therefore, it is advised that you carefully check;

  • The names of the parties are spelt correctly
  • The date(s) are correct
  • The Particulars clearly specify which facilities you have access to on the date(s) of your booking
  • There is clarity about access times and what time you must vacate the property on the date(s) of your booking
  • If you have agreed any time extensions, ensure these are clearly set out in the Particulars
  • If your wedding venue is providing you with complimentary or discounted accommodation, this should also be set out in the Particulars
  • The Particulars may also set out a break down of the costs of your booking. Ensure these reflect the final price that has been negotiated
  1. Your Rights and Obligations
  • Are you allowed to bring external caterers to operate on the day? It is worth while checking this as soon as possible as catering costs can differ massively depending on whether you are required to use in-house caterers or whether you can bring your own.
  • Are there any areas of the venue which are out of bounds on the wedding day? If so, could this impact you?
  • What are your obligations as to music? Are you allowed to bring your own DJ? Is there any information about what time music must finish? Are there any sound limit monitors or smoke machines that could impact on the big day?
  • What is the capacity of the venue? Do you have any obligations in terms of informing the venue of the final guest list numbers?
  • What are your obligations as to cleaning up the venue after the big day? If this is something you are required to do, are you in a position to make arrangements with someone to oversee this process? The newly weds would probably want to jet off on honeymoon rather than oversee the clean up operation!
  1. Payment, Postponement and Cancellation
  • Are you required to pay a deposit? If so, are you in a position to pay this? Before paying this, ensure you have got full confirmation from all important family and friends that the proposed date is suitable for them to attend. It may be difficult to change your wedding date once you have signed the contract. Also, you are advised to check any potential tube strikes, major sports matches or road works which could inconvenience your guests to making their way to your wedding.
  • When is the remaining balance payable? Ensure you are in a financial position to comply with the payment schedule. If you may struggle, negotiate this prior to signing the contract. Once the contract is signed, ensure you put diary reminders in on your phone or email calendar so you do not forget to pay your next instalment.
  • What happens if you cancel your booking? Ensure you are clear on your payment obligations in the event of you having to cancel your booking. You are advised to get wedding insurance for this very purpose.
  • What happens if the venue cancels the booking? In the event of the venue cancelling, the venue may try to limit their liability to only cover a ‘refund’ of any fees paid which will not exceed the total fee. If this is the case, you are advised to remind the venue that you may pursue them for consequential losses if they are in breach of contract. Consequential losses may include the cost of finding a venue at last minute, reprinting wedding cards or a change of cost for wedding transportation that may have to go to a different location.
  • Does the venue have the correct planning permissions to carry out the civil wedding ceremony? This should be checked before signing the agreement.
  1. Over-run
  • Is the contract clear about what happens if the wedding over runs the allotted time allocated?
  • Are you clear on the penalty? If this is not set out in the terms and conditions, ensure clarity is obtained before you sign.
  • What safeguards have you got in place, in case proceedings on the day overrun? You are advised to incorporate time buffers in your timetable in case there is a delay. It may also be useful to have a timekeeper on the day who ensures the programme runs to plan.
  1. General clauses
  • In the event of a dispute, do the terms and conditions make it clear how they will be resolved? For example, does it set out whom you can complain to and when a complaint should be made?
  • If you have not met representatives from the venue, the terms and conditions should make reference to the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013. This means you will have the right to cancel the agreement within 14 days of the conclusion of the agreement.

For more information or assistance with interpreting or negotiating your venue contract, contact info@theweddinglawyer.co.uk

 

A 3 step guide – What to do if your wedding supplier has gone bust before your big day?

Every couple wants their wedding day to go as smoothly as possible. However, wedding suppliers are businesses and like all businesses run the risk of going bust.

What can you do?

Step 1 – Contact details of the insolvency practitioner

Get in touch with your point of contact at the wedding supplier to understand the latest position and whether there is a risk of the company being salvaged.

Check to see if the insolvency has started.

If not, ask your point of contact to provide you with details about the receiver or insolvency practitioner dealing with the matter.

Where the supplier is a limited company – the above information maybe listed on Companies House https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/companies-house

Where the supplier is a partnership or sole trader, this information maybe published in the insolvency section of the local newspaper or by checking the Individual Insolvency Register.

Step 2 – Submit Your Claim

Once you have the details of the receiver or insolvency company, write to them to register your claim, explaining:

  1. How much money you are owed
  2. Proof that you have paid the supplier the amount (a receipt or bank statement should be sufficient)
  3. What the money was for

It is important to remember that even if you submit a claim, there is no guarantee you will get the money back. After all there is a good chance that the supplier will have many debts that need paying off. Nevertheless, it is always worth putting in the claim as this could result in a percentage of your money being returned.

Step 3 – Claim from your credit card company

If the supplier goes bust and you have paid your supplier using a credit card , it may be possible to contact your credit card issuer for a refund on the amount you spent with the supplier. This is set out in Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act and the credit card company can assist you with losses you have sustained between £100 and £30,000.

Step 4 – What if you have not paid using a credit card?

If you have paid using a debit card you maybe able to claim through the MasterCard and Visa Chargeback scheme provided it hasn’t been more than 120 days since paying on your debit card and making your claim.

Finally, if you have taken out wedding insurance, this may well assist in recovering any funds that have been lost.

For any further information contact info@theweddinglawyer.co.uk

Read this before contracting with a photographer or videography – 8 step guide

Last year, The Wedding Lawyer received a record number of disputes arising from the photography and videography contracts. Disputes partly arose due to the supplier not keeping to their side of the agreement.

Whilst photography and videography contracts differ depending on supplier, here is our six-step checklist to assist you when checking your photography or videography contract.

Step 1 – Does your supplier know the venue, timings and duration of coverage?           

As the consumer, it is your responsibility to check that the contract correctly states the date, venue and timings of your photo and videography shoot. Some suppliers will indicate the time at which they arrive and leave (e.g. arrive 9am and leave at 5pm) and others will simply state how many hours they will be providing coverage for (e.g. 8 hours coverage). Remember, wedding days do not always run on time, therefore, you are advised to go through your itinerary and ensure the timings stipulated on the contract as realistic. You may find it useful to negotiate an hourly rate with the supplier in advance of your wedding day, in the event of the day over running by one or two hours. This will prevent any nasty surprise bills for overtime after the event.

Step 2 – Who owns the copyright in the photos?

Do not be alarmed when a clause in the contract states “copyright of the photographic material” belongs to the supplier. This clause is often found in photography contracts. As the consumer, you should take care with how you use photos that are taken from your wedding day by your photographer. Whilst it may be tempting to stick photos/videos onto social media sites you are advised to check with you photographer before you use such photos/videos in this way.

Step 3 – How much do you need to pay upfront?

Many photographers and videographers want to be paid the entirety of their fees in full before your big day. Whilst, this provides the supplier with security that they have got the full payment, it also means you have little bargaining power once you have departed with your hard earned money. Whilst, suppliers can set their own terms as to how and when payments are due, it is worth choosing a supplier who is willing to accept part payment prior to the big day and the balance on completion of the job. This will provide an incentive for the supplier to deliver your photos and videos in a timely fashion.

According to the UK Competition and Markets Authority – as a guide:

  1. A deposit is just to reserve the goods and services and should be no more than a small percentage of the total price.
  1. Advance payments reflect the supplier’s expenses in carrying out the contract and should leave the customer with a reasonable amount to pay on completion of the job.

Step 4 – Do you need to provide your supplier with a meal or a break?

Photographers and Videographers are usually required to be fully alert and present throughout all aspects of the wedding day. However, they are only human beings are often stipulate break times and meal arrangements in their contract. Ensure you understand what the hospitality arrangements are for the supplier and if possible ensure this is factored into the itinerary. A failure to make provision to allow your supplier to take breaks for meals could mean they end up taking it at a time when they are most needed during the course of the day. It is not unusual for a photographer and videographer to request a hot meal in their contract. If this is the case, ensure you have made provision for this with your caterer.

Step 5 – Does your supplier understand the timetable for the day?

Contracts often contain a clause along the lines of

“The supplier x will endeavour to capture all the relevant moments throughout the day as they occur. However, some unforeseen moments might not be captured”

To minimise the risk of not capturing a special moment, ensure you have given your supplier a full briefing as close to the day as possible. This should also be supplemented with a printed timetable so there is no confusion as to where the photo and video team should be on the day.

Step 6 – Do you know when the final photos and videos will be delivered?

An often-disputed point is that a videographer or photographer is taking too long to deliver the photos or videos. Carefully check each clause of the contract to see that it mentions how long it will take the supplier is likely to deliver the final version of the photos and videos. Should this not be included in the contract, ensure you get written confirmation about how long this is likely to take.

Step 7 – Is there more than one photographer or videographer?

Both the bride and groom have wanted to instruct their own photographer and videographer on a separate basis to cover the wedding day. If this is the case, check the contract to ensure there are no limitations to allowing this. Some suppliers include a exclusivity clause which states “no other professional photography crew will be hired to cover the same event”.

Step 8 – Do you understand the cancellation clause in the contract?

Unfortunately, there are times where wedding days cannot go ahead, therefore ensure you are clear of what your financial liability is when you have to cancel a booking with a photographer or videographer. Remember, wedding insurance is always a good idea to protect you to cover any expenses in the event of cancellation.

If the photographer or videographer cancels the booking, check to ensure you are clear on your rights. The supplier should provide an alternative supplier of the same quality and experience or a full refund.

Should you need assistance with reviewing a contract or dealing with dispute, please contact info@theweddinglawyer.co.uk

Be your own lawyer: How to review your supplier contracts – a general guide

Before we begin, it is important to stress how important it is for you to make sure there is a contract in place between you and your wedding supplier. Irrespective of how well you may know your supplier, a written agreement is crucial as it will ensure both you and your supplier are clear on the obligations that need to be met prior, during and after the big day.

It is advisable to insist on a contract being given to you and to ensure you understand each of the terms before signing it. Once you have signed the contract, make sure you keep all your supplier contracts somewhere safe, so you can refer to it should you need to.

4 important things to look out for before signing a contract:

Contracts will vary depending on who the supplier is. However, here are our recommendations on what to look out for prior to signing a contract:

  1. Length of the contract – contracts vary in length depending on the services being supplied. Whilst there is no general rule as to how long a contract should be, if you are given a contract that is no longer than a page or two, particularly where the value of the contract is considerable (i.e. the price you are paying for the services), carefully check to ensure there is nothing of real importance left out.
  1. When reading the contract, ask yourself the following questions:
  • Are the names of the parties correct?
  • Is the venue(s) and date(s) correct?
  • Has the supplier listed in sufficient detail exactly what services they will be supplying?
  • Is there clear guidance as to what time the supplier should arrive and finish?
  • Does the contract state who will be the point of contact in the provision of the services and if so, what the best contact number is for the point of contact?
  • Has the supplier clearly stated how much the total amount will be for the services? If so, does the price include VAT?
  • Is there clear guidance as to when the deposits and balance of payment is due? Quite often, there will be an option to pay in instalments, if this is the case, are you sure you can pay on the dates provided?
  • Is there guidance as to what the penalties are if the wedding day overruns and doesn’t comply with agreed timings?
  • Is there guidance on what happens in the event of you having to cancel the booking?
  • If your wedding supplier is attending the ceremony or reception, have they stipulated any requirements they may require on the day? E.g. a meal, certain number of rest breaks, accommodation. If so, are you in a position to make provision for this?
  • Is there a provision for what happens in the event of your chosen supplier not being able to attend your event? Can the supplier substitute the services? If so, would the substitution be to someone of the same or higher quality?
  • Is there a requirement that you carry out a wedding insurance in the event of cancellation?
  1. Cancellation issues

There are times when due to unforeseen circumstances wedding days have to be cancelled. A well drafted supply contract should include guidance as to what happens in the event of cancellation and what the financial implications are for both the consumer and supplier. In other words, what refund will you receive if you cancel and what penalty the supplier will pay if they cancel. Quite often, the closer the cancellation is to the date of the wedding, the less of a refund you are likely to receive. Similarly, it is important to be clear on what the supplier will give you if they cancel. Unfortunately some supplier contracts leave fail to mention what will happen in the event of them cancelling, therefore, it is important you check this before signing.

4.    If you are not clear, do not commit

Contracts are there to protect you as a consumer but are also there to protect the business interests of the wedding supplier. Therefore, it is just as important that you are able to meet each of the contractual obligations as it is for your supplier. Before signing the supplier contract, ensure you can meet each of your obligations. If you feel, you need more information or clarity about your obligations, you are encouraged to obtain these first before signing anything. For example, prior to signing a catering contract, you may need to obtain information about the venue (e.g. the kitchen specification or loading points). Ensure you have all the information you need from your other suppliers before you sign the agreement in case you find you are unable to commit.

Should you require any guidance on interpreting or analysing a supplier contract, contact info@theweddinglawyer.co.uk