FOX43 Finds Out: Wedding Deposit Woes

HARRISBURG, Pa -- A Dauphin County couple paid $1,400 to reserve their wedding for next year.

They say they now need that money to pay for medical bills they never expected to have.

FOX43 Finds Out if they can get their deposit back after they signed a contract.

"We don`t know what`s going to happen in a month or two months," said Cindy Rosen of Harrisburg.

Rosen's fiance, Steve, was recently diagnosed with stage 4 Glioblastoma, an aggression form of brain cancer.

The couple got the diagnosis a few months ago, after they had already booked their dream wedding at Pleasant View Farm in New Cumberland on September 14th, 2019.

"The place is absolutely gorgeous," said Rosen.

After the diagnosis though, the couple knew the wedding they booked likely wouldn't happen.

Especially when the doctor told them Steve had a 3% chance of living another year.

"We don`t even know if he`s going to be here in a year or six months. So that`s what we`re up against. And fighting for his life to pay for the meds or pay for his doctor bills, that takes priority over anything else," said Rosen.

Rosen emailed the owner of Pleasant View Farm asking for the money back to help pay for medical bills.

So far, the couple had put out $2,400.

The owner agreed to give the couple $1,000 back.

However, she would not give the couple back the original down payment of $1,400.

Rosen said, "Basically the owner said it`s for the upkeep, maintenance, the taxes and the deposit is non-refundable."

The couple did sign a contract which does state that all payments are non-refundable.

"I understand. I read the contract. I get that I signed the contract but I didn`t know months later that my fiancé is going to be fighting for his life," said Rosen.

The couple says they feel like the owner wasn't compassionate.

"You`re going to survive. He may not in 6 months."

We gave the owner a call.

She didn't want to speak with us on camera, but did tell us: "All payments are clearly stated on the contract that they are non-refundable. But, out of kindness I did refund her second payment and I didn`t require she make any more payments, of course. We always suggest wedding insurance to our couples but it is their choice to purchase. Like travel insurance when you buy airline tickets or make reservations and something happens in life that makes it impossible to travel. I did ask the couple if they purchased it and they replied no. Since they requested cancellation I must honor that however there could have been other options like a movement of date or smaller event especially as a time when we are not super busy. I must honor a contract as it is legal and binding. I must honor it as they must honor their side of it as well. The contract protects us both. You mention buyer beware but, anyone signing a contract should always understand that a contract is binding agreement between 2 parties. If something happens on my side i.e. a family emergency (and this has happened to me during wedding weekends) I am still obligated to have their event without any hiccups. We love what we do and run a very respectful small business."

According to the venue's website, September 14th is listed as an available date for 2019.

Rosen wants this to be a warning for other brides-to-be before signing or paying for any vendor or venue.

"I want people to think about 'Ok, what if something happens?' You really need to read your contract and you need to know. For me, this is an eye opener."

We did ask the owner, if someone ends up booking their wedding for September 14th, if she would give the couple their money back.

She told us the contact does not allow for that and said if the weekend re-books, she would consider a donation to the couple's go fund me account.

Now to avoid this, there is wedding insurance.

Something like an illness to the bride or groom - could be covered.

Also, check your contracts.

Sometimes venues will give you your money back for an "Act of God" like severe weather or death.

and if you have a story you want Jackie to look into, FOX43 wants to find out.

Let me know, send me a message on Facebook or shoot me an email at FOX43FindsOut@FOX43.com.

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