It Might Be Hard to Get Refunds for Canceled Weddings This Year

NBC 7 Responds looked at the reasons one couple was denied a refund

NBC Universal, Inc.

Weddings are usually huge celebrations that draw dozens to hundreds of guests, so many venues have stopped holding the ceremonies in light of the coronavirus pandemic. It doesn't mean getting your money back will be easy though.

"It's not like a flight or hotel reservation where you can just decide to go the next day," said Chrysanthy Kyin and her fiancé Matthew Nielsen.

Kyin and her fiancé Matthew Nielsen were set to have a June wedding at Los Willows in Fallbrook. Family members were flying in from around the world to celebrate their special day, but then the pandemic hit.

"It was so confusing because every single day was 'what's going to happen?'" said Kyin. "What if they allow things to open on June 12th? Are we going to be screwed?"

The two said they hadn't gotten new directions from the venue, so they reached out to Los Willows.

"They assured us at the moment everything was fine and that we were going to continue along with the wedding," said Nielsen.

But with the wedding just over a month away, the two said they were not optimistic. Larger gatherings were banned across the state, but they were still making payments for the wedding. So they looked at ways to get their money back.

"They just refused and would not budge," said Nielsen. "I think their exact words a couple of times were under no circumstance would we get a refund."

The couple and the venue staff talked about pushing the wedding back to fall or winter. Kyin said she didn't want a winter wedding and was worried it still would end up canceled anyway.

"I was kind of hesitant about fighting for this at first and said just let it go," said Nielsen.

But Nielsen said he eventually got frustrated with the venue and wanted his money back.

"We tried every avenue we could to get our money back," said Kyin. "We went through our credit card to try and see if we could dispute the charges with Los Willows."

The couple filed a claim in May and got almost $5,800 back because Los Willows did not respond to the dispute. But the second claim was denied after Los Willows talked with the credit card company.

Kyin and Nielsen told us they were told they would not get a refund because the wedding was never canceled, just rescheduled.

"There's nothing that we signed," said Kyin. "No new contract, nothing to amend the old one."

NBC 7 Responds reached out to Los Willows and were told they had offered a discount if the wedding was rescheduled. They also explained that the couple's actions had nullified the contract.

"Mr. Nielsen’s chargeback to his credit card company was a breach, repudiation, and termination of the Contract and the wedding," read the statement. "Had Ms. Kyin and Mr. Nielsen not cancelled the Contract, Los Willows could have and would have performed the Contract."

The contract does say if the full payment is not provided by the date of the wedding the contract is "terminated."

The couple said they are still out more than $13,000 but the experience hurt more than the money.

"I think the worst part of it is it's really tainted the whole wedding thing for us," said Kyin.

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