Wedding cancelling with only 40 hours notice?

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by sarah_m|10, Aug 15, 2011.

  1. I received a text around midnight tonight (Tuesday, the 16th) from my client saying the wedding is off (wedding is on Wednesday afternoon, tomorrow, 40 hours from now), however I'm unsure of how or if I can cancel based on my contract.

    My contract says "the only method of cancellation that will be accepted" is through the USPS Certified Mail. Even if she sent it Express later today, I might not get it in time (I have to leave to go to the wedding before the mail usually arrives at my house on Wed). So what do I do to cancel?

    Can I meet with her in person to cancel and we both sign the Cancellation Agreement? The only time I have to do that is on Wednesday (the morning of the would-be wedding day).

    I have the clause that "any modifications of this Contract must be in writing and signed by both parties". So would I have to amend my contract to include an in-person meeting for cancellation? Or would just signing a Cancellation Agreement suffice? Or do I need to show up at the wedding venue (relative's house) & meet the client there & have her "release me" instead of doing a cancellation? I would rather not do the last option!

    I've never had anyone cancel with me so last minute where even Express Mail may not be fast enough! I'm sorry if this is a dumb question :(. I've only had 1 cancellation & even then they mailed me the cancellation so everything was done by the contract's terms.
    Thank you!
  2. If you turned down other work in the mean time for this same date, I'd make her stick to the contract. If 40 hours isn't enough time to cancel via the method specified, that isn't your fault and you should still be paid for having turned down other plausible work for the same date.
    If you haven't received other offers for work the same date you turned down, I don't see the big issue. Ultimately you and her are the only ones that are going to enforce this contract. If she wants to cancel and you're okay with her canceling, just tell her to send the registered mail letter and when you receive it, let her know it's been received.
    Depending on the size of any deposits left, I'd keep a small percentage as non refundable if that's stated somewhere in your contract. My contracts state all deposits are non refundable but will be used towards a new date in the future, if that date is open and available. If they don't rebook a new date, then I will offer to do an equal amount of photography (family shoot, pet photography, etc) for the amount of the deposit. It's a business. Don't be rude about anything, but don't give away the family farm because you're an overly nice person.
  3. "any modifications of this Contract must be in writing and signed by both parties"​
    Great! Draw up a cancellation form/letter on her behalf, meet in person and get it signed. That seems to be the "proper" thing to do, even though it does seem intimidating to do on a "marriage" day. I wonder... if things can change 40 hours before a marriage, it's always better to foresee the unforeseen.
  4. I would insist on something in writing with a signature. Fax or scan & email. If you receive it before you travel, then follow
    jonathan's advice.
  5. Sarah, do you plan to offer a full refund of anything paid in exchange for ending your obligations or are you merely seeking to obtain verification that the client is instructing you not to shoot the wedding because there will be no wedding? Your post doesn't explain what is meant by "canceling" and if that means the wedding, the shoot, the obligations and the consequences of whatever one it is. If you are seeking to keep a retainer or otherwise enforce your end of the contract I am concerned by your questions about not drafting the documentation properly to preserve your claims.
    Given the lack of information, the only safe thing to say, in either scenario, is for you to attempt to perform your obligations under the contract. If that means showing up at the venue fully ready to shoot, then so be it. Unless someone knows your goals, the content of the contract, are familiar with and understand particular state law that applies as to rescission, modifications and other relevant contract law there, they are not capable of advising you on a course of action other than attempting to follow the contract as is.
  6. John as usual is spot on... there isn't enough information in your post - is the wedding off or is she just not requiring you to shoot it?
    If it is the former - then I'd keep any retainer paid and let her off the hook - she's going through enough at this point - doesn't need to be hassled about paying $xxx.00 for a photographer that she's not going to use.
    If it is the latter, she just doesn't want you doing photos, then I'd enforce the contract and politely request payment per the terms. When she doesn't pay then go to conciliation court.
    Either way - at this point it too late (probably) to determine what is going on - so I'd do as John suggests and show up at the venue at the agreed upon time (maybe even early) and see if anyone shows up.
    Note: not a lawyer - just a photographer. Not intended as legal advice - just what I would do in this situation.
  7. Sarah, would you accept a text message as a signature or a deposit on a contract? Well you can't accept one as a method of cancelling one either. Maybe a phone call from your client might be a more acceptable start of the cancellation procedure.
  8. I received a text around midnight tonight (Tuesday, the 16th) from my client saying the wedding is off...​
    It seems to me that they've called off the whole thing for whatever reason. I wouldn't give the bride-to-be too much grief. It probably wasn't an easy decision, emotionally and otherwise. I would still attempt to show up at the venue, failing receipt of something in writing to formally discharge you of your obligations for the day. Further, I would take some photos at the venue, to ensure I have time-stamped proof of my presence, just in case. Maybe also a signed document from the officiant or someone managing the venue, again to corroborate your presence there.
    Let us know how it goes. I wouldn't really push the bride for payment at this stage. She's unlikely to be in the right frame of mind right now. Just professional courtesy on your part. I would propose you follow up sometime after the fact. In the meantime get some solid legal advice...
    As an aside, it amazes me how litigation-happy some parts of the world are! So easy to run to court for this and that! Aaaah, but I digress :)
  9. Something more than a text message is definetly required here. My first step would be to confirm via email or phone (better would be both). Then proceed with cancelling the contract in whatever way you feel is acceptable (it's your contract afterall) and accommodating - just don't expect to see another dime or dollar short of going to court. But with a record of communication more substantial than a text, at least she won't be suing you...
    At this point you can't be sure she wasn't out drinking and thought it'd be funny to joke around -- (or one of her bridesmaids grabbed her phone... haha).
  10. bms


    I would call her, and get something in writing (fax, email) that you can verify is her. Showing up at the venue may be overkill the wedding is really off, unless you strongly suspect she is trying to trick you,
    As stated above, if the wedding is really off, who knows what state of mind she is in?
    I hope you contract says something about a retainer/cancellation fee, otherwise I guess you may have to refund her.
  11. Showing up at the venue may be overkill the wedding is really off, unless you strongly suspect she is trying to trick you,​
    Showing up, ready to shoot, is the only course of action if she is unable to verify the intent of the bride.
    Let's say for a second the bride didn't send the text - or intended the text to go to someone else - what happens if the wedding goes off as planned and the photographer is a no show?
    Best case the photographer ends up giving any deposit / retainer back.
    If the intentions of the bride are unable to be confirmed - then the photographer is obligated to show up and be ready. If the intention of the bride is to cancel the whole wedding - then there is a path for the photographer to go down - as most have suggested which does not involve collecting more from the client.
    If the intention of the bride to merely cancel the photographer - then there is another path for the photographer to follow should her contract allow it.
  12. It is important to get specific instructions from whoever signed the contract. Something akin to "please confirm in writing (email may
    be sufficient) that you do NOT want me to travel to the specific where that is...on Wednesday the 17th as per your text of
    Tuesday the 16th".

    John H and i do not always agree on things but I am in lockstep with his advice unless and until you get clear instructions from your
  13. I agree that you need some kind of confirmation that the wedding is off -- my kids grab each other's cell phones al lthe time and send bogus text messages and Facebook postings. But as far as giving any money back, is the caterer giving her money back? Is the florist giving her money back? Is the limo service giving money back? Is the airline/hotel giving money back for the honeymoon that's not happening? What you can do is determined by how your contract is written and I'm not a lawyer, but I don't see where she gets any money back. Whether you turned down other work on the same date is irrelevant -- you would have been legally obligated to turn down other work on the date if it had come up because you were already contracted to work for her that day.
  14. I left her a message a few hours ago & am hoping she replies soon. If she doesn't reply to my message & meet with me in person, I'll have to go to the wedding venue tomorrow to cover myself. Not so much that I think the wedding is happening but moreso because I'm still legally under contract to show up until she signs my Release form.
    Since you're asking, my contract says "... all retainers, partial payments and fees are nonrefundable & nontransferable for any other service even if the date of the wedding is changed or canceled for any reason". I I'll discuss any partial refund or future service offer with her after I meet with her, not sure if its just being postponed or canceled all together.
    I do feel bad for her, but I'm guessing she had to work. At our last meeting she said she had to work her wedding day, but asked to leave early for a different reason & wasn't sure if she'd get off in time for her wedding (a new job she just started & was afraid they wouldn't hire her if they knew she was getting married). So likely its that, but I just don't know yet... if she lied about something that important, I just want to cover my bases.
    Thanks for all your replies!
  15. Red flags all over!
    Thanks for the repsonse Sarah -
    You are doing / taking the proper course of action - assuming you don't hear from her. Depending on location - you seem to be covered contractually from the retainer view - so that's good.
    Given her circumstances - it is very possible that her employer turned her down or if they found out the deceit maybe even terminated employment. I never understood why people feel the need to lie about these things - If my employer refused time off for a family function - I'd be finding a new employer (and yes I get it the economy is really bad)
  16. Showing up at the venue may be overkill​
    Not when a contract says "the only method of cancellation that will be accepted" is through the USPS Certified Mail as we are told here.
    It is important to get specific instructions from whoever signed the contract. Something akin to "please confirm in writing (email may be sufficient) that you do NOT want me to travel to the specific where that is...on Wednesday the 17th as per your text of Tuesday the 16th". John H and i do not always agree on things but I am in lockstep with his advice unless and until you get clear instructions from your client.​
    I fear that we may disagree here but only a little bit. If a proper modification doesn't occur which accommodates such an activity, then it may be rendered ineffective. Even if it does, I would find discomfort with language merely showing that the photographers appearance is not wanted and rather have a statement indicating that attempting to perform will be forbade or, at least, futile and have language indicating acknowledgment that it is the clients understanding that the nonrefundable fees will, indeed, not be refunded as a result. Would a client sign that? Maybe not. If it were me, under the circumstances, I wouldn't try to modify the terms of the contract at all and show up if keeping any funds paid is intended. Why take a chance at screwing things up.
  17. My update is that nothing's changed.
    So I haven't heard from my client yet. I left her a few messages but never got a call or text back. I'm assuming she's not going to return my call tomorrow either, but I'll be hopeful.
    So what do I do tomorrow? Do I keep calling & texting her? I understand she's probably upset & sad & maybe she's busy canceling other things & calling guests & explaining things to relatives or something. Hopefully she contacts me 1st thing in the morning.
    I'm assuming I'm going to the wedding, will get there & no one will be there. What "form" should I have with me & who can I have sign it? I'll bring my release form but I don't know who else could "release" me from my contract other than my client? Then again, what do I do if I get there & there IS a wedding there?
    & I agree, not a good idea to lie to the boss about things, especially a wedding! I suggested she tell her boss she was getting married but that it wouldn't affect her work & she's not taking any days off... however she'd already told them it was a relative's birthday party. Then again, it could be something completely different so I shouldn't assume it was just that she had to work.
  18. Bring a assistant/friend/witness. vdeo the empty/full venue. Get a note from an venue official/others if possible, ect. Acknowledgement from client that services will not be permitted (different from excused), IOW evidence of refusal and/or futility. No need to make a scene. just polite methodology.
  19. I would show up at the church (or bride's home or wherever was specified in your contract) with your gear, properly attired, ready to shoot. If she's there and the wedding is on, then you do the job as normal. If nobody's there, maybe shoot a frame of the empty church then go home. Assuming you already have her money in hand and the check is cleared -- you have done that, ahven't you? -- that's end of story. If she never calls back, not your problem. As for couldn't get the day off work, that's her problem. The day of the week for a wedding can vary with religion, but as a practical matter the majority of weddings are scheduled for weekends for the very reason that most people -- including the guests and family, not just the bridal party -- have to work on weekdays.
  20. I guess there's no harm in showing up there tomorrow, taking a few snaps of the empty location, getting some coffee and coming back home. That's just to cover your bases.
    She does not seem to be too much of an ethical type (based on her lies to her future employer), so you should make sure you are safe in case she decided to pull something on you.
  21. It's not relevant to your contract whether the venue, the caterer, the florist, the hotel, etc., are refunding anything or nothing. They are all different business models and different contracts.
  22. I called her again this morning & she just now texted saying she was working today & can meet with me tomorrow (the day after the wedding, so that wouldn't work). I texted her that I would be going to the wedding venue if she didn't meet with me before 3 today & then she said she'd meet after she got off work for the day at 3. So I'm meeting with her right at 3. I'm assuming the wedding was called off? It wouldn't make sense for her to hire a different photographer, she already paid me in full & I was over her budget even with giving her a discount due to a weekday wedding & she was tight on funds. I don't know if something else is going on & she doesn't want me there, or if she would just feel bad making me drive a 1.5 hours round trip to the venue & back for a canceled event.
    I do feel bad for her, having to cancel with me the day of the wedding & I hope she's ok. I'm still slightly frustrated that she waited until noon to let me know & ignored me all day yesterday, but she must be going through a lot. I don't know if it would be too intrusive to ask what happened. Not because I want to get into her personal life, but if it was postponed, I could work with her on that if I have the new date free. If they broke up or something I'd work something out.
    Anyways, we're meeting today & she'll sign my Wedding Photography Contract Release form. Sorry if I went on for a bit, I think I'm still processing this/ venting.
  23. Sarah -
    Please let us know how it turns out -
    Meeting at 3:00 on the day of the wedding is cutting it close - but it does appear to be legitimately a cancel - not a I found someone else - situation.
    Keep copies of all messages from / to her - so you have proof if she comes back at you saying you didn't show.

  24. What does the "release" say?
  25. John and David are correct IMO, but I am curious about the need for a USPS certified mail.
    You can go to jail threatening the president via email, why on earth would an email not work in the same situation? Email's are regularly brought into court as damning evidence. I think the insistence on a certified letter is a bit overkill, and obviously, this is most likely a hugely difficult time for your client, having a photographer insist to the "letter" could be construed as bad form in the smallest way, and simply callous by most other thoughtful people
    I'd first find out if the wedding is cancelled or postponed, I would consult a Maid of Honor or parent of the client and determine this as gently as possible. If a postponement, then you have an opportunity to make some lemonade out of these lemons. A cancellation you can be viewed as the concerned and thoughtful professional.
    Either way, I would claim the deposit as damages, but I would forgo any further concern about the contract's total, with one notable exception...they eloped. If they up and went away to get married and cancelled the wedding because they are in that case, I'd expect full payment for the contract, but to be honest would have a hard time finding a judge to award that, unless it can be proven that they knowingly mislead you.
    Very curious about this. Would love to hear how it turns out, minus a messy breakup though..enough tears in the world.
  26. Daniel -
    The only reason I would request certified mail is because that way there is proof positive of the recipient and receipt of the same. A physical signature is required.
    On e-mail - there is no way of knowing if the sender is who they say they are, just as there is no way of knowing with 100% certainty who received / read the email. It is relatively easy to hack into someone's email, mark all messages read, then exit. Just as it is easy to log into someone else's e-mail and send a phony message.
  27. She said they're still getting married, they just didn't have enough money to pay for everything today so had to cancel & they'll get married later. She said she lost a lot of money from her other vendors. I didn't say this, but it always confuses me when people have so much paid for & then lose it all instead of just working with what they have... but maybe that wasn't possible. She signed the release form with me & my assistant there & didn't want a copy for herself. She asked for a refund & I said I could work something out with her if she rebooked with me. I'll likely email her in a few days & offer to do a different type of photoshoot with her if they're not setting up a new date.
    @David Haas - Yes I have everything saved, thank you. 3 was close but I had time to spare & brought all of my equipment & wedding attire with me, just in case. It scared me at first because when I got there at 2:50 the girl at the register said she didn't think she worked today & the place is a small company, maybe 4 employees, but she was there.

    @John Henneberger - It says "Wedding Photography Contract Release: I, (Client), release (Photographer) of all liability, responsibilities and commitments and services regarding our “Wedding Photography Contract” signed (date we signed), regarding 8/17/2011 wedding. I hereby forfeit my deposit and all payments made without further obligation, and no further monies, goods or services are due or owed by either party (photographer or client)."

    @Daniel McGarrity - I use USPS mail because I had one person cancel on me via email (2 years ago) through another person & it went to my junk mail. I didn't see it for almost a week & there was no subject line & I almost didn't read it because it looked like spam. For some reason I read it & the wedding was a week away & they lived on the other side of the state. I haven't had any other cancellations aside from the one 2 years ago & the one today, but I should probably edit that part of my contract.
  28. it always confuses me when people have so much paid for & then lose it all instead of just working with what they have...​
    I agree. Just have a cheap wedding using what was already paid for and get friends and relatives to help out with the rest (cooking food/supplying flowers/photography/etc.)
  29. The woman seems to have had barely enough money to get married and yet she goes ahead with hiring a pro-photographer. That explains a lot about her spending habits which she must have further proven with her other vendors too. A fancy wedding is all good but not if it sets you back financially for months. The wedding is more important than any glamor/partying around it.
  30. I am curious about the need for a USPS certified mail. You can go to jail threatening the president via email, why on earth would an email not work in the same situation?​
    Because photographers don't have the Secret Service at their disposal to verify the accuracy and source of emails and texts like the one used here. No one else can receive the correspondence and delete or forget to tell the photographer. Because not all clients will sign a statement like Sarah obtained. The client has to produce the 'gold standard' personally signed/abandoned/rejected green card to prove they told or attempted to tell the photographer there is no shoot to occur which can be an issue sometimes. But, mostly, to avoid the kind of situation here. Of course this particular method is slower and the last moment nature of the announcement caused some chaos which can be expected in general when things are down down to the wire. Here, it seems to be handled quite well.
  31. Your appear to have been paid in full to date. That puts you in the driver's seat.
    Your measure of damages is the contract price less any money you have laid out plus your expected profit. Work that out and refund the difference. That way you are made whole (i.e. you get what you expected to get).
  32. Your measure of damages is the contract price less any money you have laid out plus your expected profit. Work that out and refund the difference. That way you are made whole (i.e. you get what you expected to get).​
    Lets pretend that we were never told about how the contract explained the liquidated amount the photographer gets to keep trumping the formula quoted above (assuming the contract scheme is enforceable). ..
    We are told to first subtract expenses from the contract price. The answer to that equation happens to be the profit that would have been realized. We are next told to add to this amount the profit. So, in other words, add profit to profit to get double the profit. Even though that makes no sense, we are then told to refund the difference without any explanation as to where this difference is derived from leaving us with some mystery amount to be subtracted from this double profit we currently have. Then somehow that calculates to what the photographer was going to get.
    Here's the explanation quoted above in equation form:
    Contract price - expenses = profit + profit - ??? = damages
    Definitely not the measure of damages in a breached contract.
  33. Looking at it again the quoted text is ambiguous and it could also be...
    contract price - (expense + profit) = profit.
    In reality contract price minus expense is the profit e.g. $1,000 fee - $300.00 expense = $700.00 (profit) This alternative formula derived from the quoted explanation would be $1,000.00 - ( $300 + $700) = $0. Which makes no sense.
    There's a third alternative using "would have laid out" to mean expenses that didn't have to be incurred because of the cancellation... (Contract price - expenses avoided by photographer due to breach) + expected profit = profit.e.g. ($1000.00 contract price - $100.00 expenses avoided) + $200.00 = $1,100.00. A windfall the photographer would never realize.
    A fourth alternative, which actually DOES make sense, if if the "plus your expected profit" was meant as minus instead....
    Contract price - expenses incurred - expenses avoided. e.g.. ($1,000.00 Contract price - $200.00 expenses incurred - $100 expenses avoided = $700.00. Since the photographer would have made $700.00 had the wedding gone forward because they would have had to spend $100.00 in addition to the $200.00 already spent, that formula is the correct one. It matches the $1000.00 fee minus the $300.00 expenses to get $700.00.discussed above
    Final conclusion: If a photographer will be able to recover damages in lieu of liquidated damages/retainer clauses the formula is... Contract price - expenses incurred if any - expenses avoided if any = what photographer was going to make.
  34. DO NOT TRUST A TEXT MESSAGE!!! Anyone could have temporary possession of the client's cell phone and you may be sued for a no-show. Confirm that the cancellation is official. If you can't contact client in person or by phone try the person officiating the wedding. Cancellations can be a very emotional issue for some clients who may not want to take phone calls or meet with anyone at all. If confirmation is made I would send a Certified Return Receipt Letter to the client with a cancellation form and a stamped return envelope requesting that they sign it and drop it in the mail. Whether you receive the signed cancellation form or not you can go from there in recovering a cancellation fee... Small Claims Court, etc. It is up to you how far you will want to take the issue depending on the situation.
  35. For those who think an email isn't enough, and I accept your premises, but seriously do you think an email that says a contract is altered or changed that drastically wouldn't come with a phone call from the professional? Seriously?
    As for the hacking, yes, it could happen, and so could the asteroid that came down and hit right next to the zoo where all the monkeys are, who then get out and go into an Apple store (monkeys love fruit) and start typing, sooner or later one of them has GOT to send that "Please cancel my wedding photography" email off to everyone's bride.
    I believe in being prudent, I stake my business and reputation on that, but I also believe that when emergencies happen at the last minute, that means the last minute. You can create all kinds of documents and forms to cover your assets after the initial email and verification, As for the email going in the spam folder, again, take precautions, like not having a spam filter automatically delete emails. And check the dang folder regularly.
    And stay in touch with your client, regularly.
    As for a text message, Umm I didn't say I'd trust a text, I'd call the number if that was the case.
    Now as for a refund, Deposit is yours, liquidated damages, whatever your deposit is. Remaining monies are pretty much
    I would keep Expenses+Deposit. Refund what remains.
    This is one jacked up situation here.
  36. Just to be clear, Sarah, you seemed to have done absolutely everything I would and I applaud you for your tenacity. it's a credit to our profession.
    As to being cheeky about the email and the hacking, c'mon I was just being cheeky.
  37. You need to re-look at your contract. mine says that
    1. all payments are non-refundable
    2. payments are staggered
    3. in the event of a cancellation, no fees will be returned
    The reasoning behind this is that the closer you are to the date, the harder it is to get a booking for the date

    I have had one cancellation, and they tried to get the money back, and failed
    there are several reasons for a cancelation
    - they split up
    - they screwed up the finances
    - someone died somewhere, and the wedding got postponed
    My view is that if the client has made all the moves themselves (they booked you, they are cancelling on a whim, or have screwed their own finances, then they dont get the money back. If soem reasonable mitigating circumstance (father died, venue burnt down for example) shifts the wedidng date, then I do my best to accomodate the move
    Wedding insurance companies have a similar approach
  38. Contract-Deposit=Remainder
    I would keep Expenses+Deposit. Refund what remains.​
    The first problem with this suggestion is that it deviates from almost all contract terms that set a pre-determined amount of damages in case of breach. Unless those terms are unenforceable, those terms govern.
    The second problem with the suggestion is that its premise is faulty. Remainder minus expenses isn't profit.
    The third problem is that, where there are no predetermined damages, default legal remedies apply which this is inconsistent with.
    The correct equation is...
    Total contract price - expenses actually incurred - expenses that would have incurred = the profit that would have been realized had the contract been performed. IOW: so called expectation damages.
    The fourth problem is that contracts that don't have a date reservation/non refundable retainer type terms may be unenforceable if the photographer never has to actually perform which brings us full circle to the first problem if the photographer wanted to avoid that problem.
  39. 3. in the event of a cancellation, no fees will be returned
    The reasoning behind this is that the closer you are to the date, the harder it is to get a booking for the date​
    Liquidated damages that amount to the entire fee should not be expected to be enforceable in court. Especially when the profit would not have equal the full fee.
  40. Sarah, for any future contracts you make, please be sure you have a cancellation policy right in your initial contract. That way there is less to be contested. Here's how mine currently reads. I got it from the one my own personal wedding photographer used when my husband and I got married, and then adapted it to my needs.
    Cancellation Policy:
    It is understood that the deposit paid by the Client is for the purpose of reserving the Photographer for the Date indicated on the cover page. In the event of cancellation of this contract by the Client, (1) six months or more prior to the Date, the Photographer shall retain $300 of the Deposit for photography, the remaining balance of the Deposit shall be returned to the Client; (2) less than six months prior to the Date, the photographer shall retain in full the Deposit; and (3) thirty days or less prior to the Date, the Photographer shall retain the Deposit and the Client shall promptly pay the photographer, as liquidated damages, half of the remaining contract Balance set forth on the cover page here of less the amount of the Deposit (the “Cancellation Fee”).
    I don't have any specifics about the means of canceling, perhaps I should put that in somewhere. But having to get things to you only via certified mail when email and text messages are things that are used in court these days seems a bit of overkill. Just be sure that you then call the person back, and get another confirmation from them, to make sure it wasn't some horrible prank someone pulled on them.
  41. text messages are things that are used in court these days​
    These have been used in court for a long time. That's not the issue. Just because evidence admitted happens to be the only evidence someone has, doesn't means its the more desired kind.
    The green card is so often still used as required notice protocol because its easily obtainable and easily and reliably authenticated. Anyone can print something looking like a computerized communication. If you don't like overkill, try subpoenaing internet entities to authenticate a document. Also, it is necessary with some carriers to preserve text messaging in advance or within a few days. The is a charge for such services too. Instead of putting a phone in to evidence, someone can take a picture of the screen but that has its own issues. There's a reason that so many legal communications feature certified mail. There are so many examples, Worker compensation commissions require them, Insurance companies use them for policy cancellation warnings. Do you really think these computer heavy entities would use certified mail for no discernible reason if these other methods "are used in court these days"? Overkill? How hard is it to get a card in the mail? If something is important to someone, its not that big of a deal to send one either.
  42. thirty days or less prior to the Date, the Photographer shall retain the Deposit and the Client shall promptly pay the photographer, as liquidated damages, half of the remaining contract Balance​
    I'm a fan of structured fee retention for legal reasons but a scheme that requires collection of funds not already held has practical hurdles and maybe some legal ones as well. I suppose the potential for going after the unpaid fees from a canceling client might deter them from making demands about the funds already turned over but, that means forgoing trying to collect unless the client first makes a fuss to get back fees already paid.
    If one really wants to keep a set amount of money in the event of something going wrong, its best to be holding it all when it happens. Collections activities are burdensome, undesirable and often ineffective.

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