Wedding firms may be misleading couples unable to tie the knot over refunds

A bottle of hand sanitiser at a church wedding
A bottle of hand sanitiser at a church wedding (PA Wire)
10:39am, Thu 26 Nov 2020
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Several wedding companies may be breaking consumer law by misleading disappointed brides and grooms and failing to process refunds for postponed and cancelled events, according to the consumer watchdog.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said it has written to organisers reminding them of their legal responsibilities after receiving a new batch of complaints.

Allegations include unreasonable delays to refunds, misleading claims of the amounts couples are entitled to, and opportunities to rebook weddings but only at higher prices, the CMA said.

The warning comes less than three months after the watchdog persuaded Bijou Weddings Group to give “fairer refunds” to couples whose big day had to be called off because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Bijou had offered to reschedule weddings free of charge, but it only gave a very limited refund to those who wanted to cancel entirely.

It’s not right that couples are facing an uphill battle over costs for weddings which couldn’t go ahead due to the pandemic

Since the victory in September for the CMA, the regulator said concerns remain that others are continuing to operate poorly by not helping couples unable to tie the knot.

CMA chief executive Andrea Coscelli said: “It’s not right that couples are facing an uphill battle over costs for weddings which couldn’t go ahead due to the pandemic.

“We know that businesses are continuing to face the impact of coronavirus, but consumers cannot be expected to lose out as a result.

“Many couples will be entitled to a full refund, but, in the cases where they are not, we are absolutely clear there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to retaining costs.

“Any proposed deduction should only cover costs already incurred in relation to the particular wedding in question, and those costs should be proven by the firm and clearly broken down.

“All wedding firms need to take note of the CMA’s action in this area and provide refunds where they are due, without unnecessary delay. Those who refuse to do so risk enforcement action.”

The CMA did not reveal the names of the businesses which have received the letters.

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