BBB Tip of the Week: Avoiding wedding scams
Weddings are often a joyous celebration with family and friends. They can also be overwhelming and a large financial investment.
Each year, the Better Business Bureau receives hundreds of complaints about wedding vendors. The complaints include breach of contract, scams – such as a fake vendor who doesn’t show up – and bait-and-switch tactics that occur when an advertised deal is “unavailable” and high-pressure sales tactics are used to push more expensive goods.
The BBB offers the following tips to anyone planning a wedding or a large event:
• Research all vendors online and at www.bbb.org. Ask about any recent changes in management or ownership, which may affect service quality. Get recent references and then follow up to learn about their experiences with the vendor.
• Comparison shop by getting price quotes from several competitors, even when a vendor comes highly recommended.
• Make sure all agreements are in writing. Each contract should contain all dates of service, start and finish times, details of all included services, and any fees for out-of-scope services – such as staying late – and for cancellation. For photographers and videographers, include a firm delivery date for the final product.
• Contact each vendor several times in the weeks and days before the event. Vendors go out of business, often without warning.
• Consider purchasing wedding insurance. Wedding cancellation insurance can help with the financial burdens of vendor no-shows and cancellations
• Consider consulting a wedding planner. A planner can lessen your stress and the time spent checking contracts and following up with vendors. • On the day of the event, consider having a trusted friend or family member guard the gift table and collect donations. Some couples have reported thousands of dollars in gifts and cash stolen by wedding crashers. For more tips you can trust, visit the BBB at www.bbb.org or call (509) 455-4200.
Erin T. Dodge, BBB editor