7 ways to avoid wedding scams
Ok, I’m starting this blog with a some swear words. Apologies if this offends!
“What the hell gives low life scum the fucking right to take someone else’s hard-earned money, and ruin their wedding day?? UTTER BASTARDS!!!”
Phew, right, that’s out of my system.
The day you bind yourself to your beloved should be joyous, fun, exciting and memorable (for the right reasons.) Lets face it, wedding planning can be absolute hell even when everything goes right! But for some poor souls, things go very, very wrong when they’re scammed by unscrupulous wedding vendors. Wedding scams are scary, but there are some very simple steps you can take to protect yourself.
A few days ago I received a frantic email from a distraught bride who has been scammed, just 3 weeks before her big day. As thousands of others have done before her, she had placed an order for several bouquets and accessories from an Etsy supplier. That supplier took a substantial amount of money, and did a runner. The bride only realised when the delivery date came and went, and chaser emails were left unanswered. The supplier has changed the name of the shop several times since in order to evade irate customers.
Luckily, I was in a position to help the couple out. I’m glad to say her bouquet and buttonholes are winging their way to her as I type. However, not everyone recover from the devastation these robbing bastards cause.
You may have seen the recent tabloid headlines about Bake a Cake, scamming nearly 500 couples out of nearly 80k via Wowcher. The cow bag behind the company lied to Wowcher about the size of her business, the services she provided and equipment she had for rental. Some of the poor sods involved didn’t discover the scam until the day of their wedding.
So what can you do to make sure you receive the services you pay for?
1. Beware of fake vendors:
It boggles my mind that couples will book vendors without researching! I’ve heard so many horror stories from brides who paid DJs, photographers and bakers who never showed up. Before choosing a supplier, check out their reviews – and not just on their own websites!! Google them, check out review sites, ask in forums. Learn from other people’s misfortunes before it’s too late. I strongly recommend meeting vendors in person. I would say 95% of my brides have had the pleasure of my crazy face in front of them. You get a gut feel when you’re one on one with someone – trust your instincts! Ask for references too – talk to previous clients.
2.Get it in writing:
All my brides receive a contract, to protect them and me. We document their design requirements collaboratively, so I know exactly what they want, and can refer back to it if needed. If for instance, you’re using a wedding planner to shape your day, write out the plan you and your supplier can agree on. That way, if you get a Sweet Cart instead of a Tattoo Station, you have something to fall back on.
3.Read the fine print:
Whilst most suppliers are transparent, some less honest a-holes will use fine print to scam you. If you think your caterers are providing a surf and turf Hawaiian buffet, make sure it states that or you may end up with 1970’s prawn cocktail!
4. Avoid ‘Too good to be true’ deals:
Cheap aint always best! You know I’m a big fan of saving pennies wherever possible. However, sometimes things really are too good to be true. That offer on Wowcher may look appealing, but is it really a good idea?? Stop and think before you click the pay now button. This is especially important when buying your dress. Robbing scum use photos of designer gowns to flog cheap and nasty imitations. To avoid fakes, check the designer’s website for authorized retailers. Better still, try before you buy!
5. Stagger payments:
Where possible, pay a deposit and only pay the balance when you’re 100% happy you’ve received the service you were quoted for. Ask lots of questions to make sure suppliers won’t try and sneak in additional charges.
The payment process is super simple at Flipside. A 50% deposit secures your slot on the design bench. You’ll be sent regular updates on the progress of your order, allowing you to tweak the design as we go. Each month you’ll be asked to pay 10% of the balance, until the order is complete. Once you’re 100% happy, the final balance is paid, and your glorious creations will be shipped out amidst a cloud of glitter.
6. Keep an eye on the gifts:
I read a story on Facebook recently about a sneak thief who waltzed into Pendrell Hall and stole the photographer’s equipment, and several gifts. Lost presents are one thing, but the couple no longer have photos of their big day. Make sure your venue offers a secure place, or someone to watch over your gift table. If you’re organising your own wedding, ask a friend or family member to squirrel gifts away somewhere.
7. Protect your pennies:
Where possible pay by credit card, never cash or cheque. If you do get scammed, you can file a grievance with your credit card company and in most cases, get a refund. Better still, don’t be a tight wad – GET WEDDING INSURANCE. I used Debenhams, and it was something daft like £50 (with a £20 gift voucher thrown in.)
Above all, remember: if something doesn’t feel right, find a different supplier. Oh yeah, and try to stress out, we’re not all wankers!
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