How to Avoid Wedding Scams
Your wedding day is the most important day of your life, but it can be easily ruined when you're the victim of a scam by a no-show photographer or dodgy make-up artist.
Imagine paying a hefty deposit to a wedding photographer, then, on the day of the event, he doesn't show up. You call but he's "unreachable". The tears stream down your face as you realise there's no one to provide photographic memories of this glorious, expensive day. Or maybe the photographer shows up and takes pictures, but fails to send you prints or digital photos.
Another nightmare scenario could involve you trying to save a few bucks, so you decide to order your wedding gown on an online boutique that looks kind of legit. The dress looks great on screen and the company says they’ll ship it to you for free. How could this not be a win-win? Well, your dress might not show up on time. Or that beautiful strapless gown shows up and the lace isn’t ivory but more of a cat-pee yellow and the seams are glued together.
Here are some simple ways to evade extortion, or other wedding vendor scams, such as price hikes, in the last few days before the wedding.
#1 Get recommendations (from the right people)
Work with vendors that trustworthy friends and family recommend. Those closest to you will also be upfront enough to tell you the pros and cons of going with a certain vendor they have used.
#2 Find a street address and check it's legit
Try to hire vendors that have physical offices rather than just an online business. Should the situation head south, at least you know where to go in order to sort things out.
#3 Use your credit card
Always use a credit card (AMEX preferably, because they have better consumer protection) when making payments - never cash or cheque, so you can do a charge-back if needed.
#4 Google like you would a blind date ;)
Check their ratings on websites like Yelp and Google. Type in the business owner’s name and the business name with the words “complaint” and “scam” in the search bar.
#5 Hire a planner
Hire a wedding planner who can make recommendations. Experienced planners will have enough knowledge of the industry to help you make an informed decision.
#6 Get covered
Organise wedding insurance that covers such things as cancellation or postponement of the ceremony, additional expenses, wedding photographs and video, wedding gifts, special jewellery and lost deposits. For additional coverage, you can add liability and liquor liability to your policy.
#7 Ask about hidden costs
Make sure you ask if there are any other costs that could be added to the final bill at a later time.
#8 Read the contracts
And finally, make sure you always read every single word of every contract you sign. Ask for contract changes if you’re not 100% comfortable. Don’t let them talk you into signing something that’s not in your favour. Remember: you can always walk away and hire someone else.
Above all, remember: if something doesn’t feel right, trust your gut.