Do I owe client a refund who canceled a photography session they signed a contract for?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Do I owe client a refund who canceled a photography session they signed a contract for?

Looking for advice…. so a few months ago a couple signed a contract for a 2019 wedding that included an engagement session. They live in N.C. and I live in VA. The wedding and engagement was supposed to be in N.C. Well a few weeks later they say they are now canceling the wedding bc the venue didn’t work out and are going to get married in Jamaica and they just wanted to do the engagement. So they paid an additional $530 on top of the $250 they paid when the signed the contract for the wedding. The day of engagement sessions comes along and it had been raining for a week straight here and there and the weather didnt look good so we decided to postpone the session. A few days later they write back saying they wanted to cancel the engagement

and get their money back. I responded and said unfortunately they would not receive a full refund and that I was happy to coordinate our schedule to still

do the session or they could have a credit towards a future shoot. They responded by asking if they would get the $530 they paid and I would keep the $250 deposit. I haven’t responded. They have been so wishy washy since day one. I have accommodated them from day one. I held dates that I could have

taken someone else even though it was raining. I feel like they have jerked me around like Im not running a business. What do i do? I have a liability clause in the contract they signed. We never canceled it and never did a new one for just the engagement. Do I owe them anything?

Asked on May 30, 2018 under Business Law, Virginia


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

You have no obligation to return *any* money to them if they cancelled the session, unless your contract with them had some refund clause or provision and they fully complied with its terms. In the absence of a contractual provision to the contrary, when a customer elects to cancel, they are still held to the contract the signed: the vendor/contractor can keep any deposit(s) and could potentially sue them for any additional lost profits, over and above the amount of the deposit, incurred due to the customers' breach of contract.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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