Legal Question in Consumer Law in California


My fiance and I planned on getting married at a venue in San Francisco, but due to unforeseen circumstances we have to push back our wedding. We signed a contract with them and in the contract it says if we are to cancel 90 days prior (which we are definitely way before 90 days) to the event we would get back 50% of the money. We have asked them nicely if there's anyway they can refund the entire deposit and they have said no, but we are wondering if there is anything that we can do to get the full amount. One important note is that my fiance signed the contract and sent it to them, but we never received a signed copy from the person we've been working with. The contract that we have has a place where the person who works for the venue was supposed to sign and send back to us, but she has yet to do this. We signed the contract less than 30 days ago as well. Would this allow us to get out of the contract and receive our entire deposit?

Asked on 2/08/17, 9:19 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Timothy McCormick Libris Solutions - Dispute Resolution Services

Unfortunately, a piece of paper is not required in order for there to be a binding contract in most cases. Legally, the "contract" is the agreement of the parties, not the piece of paper. Furthermore, where there IS a piece of paper that sets forth the contact, it only has to have been signed by the person against whom it is being enforced, because if the other person is seeking to enforce the written terms, they presumably admit they agree the writing properly reflects the terms of the contract. Lastly, even if the parties intended that no contract would be formed until there was agreement on the written terms, by one party preparing the contract (legally an offer of terms) and you signing it (legally acceptance of the terms) that forms a binding written contract.

As for the 30-days, I'm afraid there is no "cooling off" period for contracts, with VERY few exceptions, none of which apply to event venues.

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Answered on 2/09/17, 10:46 am

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