Photo workshop cancellation- should I expect a refund?

Joined
Nov 14, 2005
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Winter Haven, florida
I will purposefully keep this nebulous, at least for now.
I had scheduled a Florida bird photo workshop in the next coming weeks, scheduled and paid months ago.
I try to do one workshop a year. Workshop is with a good photographer with a skill set I could learn from.
I had prepaid $1500. Workshop is of coarse cancelled.
Should I expect a refund?
What they are offering includes:
1. They are attempting to pull together the workshop at some random date in the fall. I specifically scheduled this at peak bird season for a reason, almost nothing to shoot in the fall. Unacceptable to me. My fall schedule is also pretty packed with work, so getting a specific week off is unlikely.
2. Some one on one online instruction. I can read a book on my own, this was an infield workshop. The skill set I want to work on will need in field time.
3. If there are openings in any other of his workshops I can use the credit. I do not want to do his other workshops. This one was local, the others all involve travel, housing, car rental, expenses, etc.
4. If the workshop is rescheduled in 2021 the monies could be carried over.
They were also a little snarky on the phone when I called and inquired about my options.
Thought I would ask here, how should I proceed? No refund will be offered, that was made pretty clear.
I could request a refund from my credit card company. I have never done that before, but is an option.
Other thoughts?
I do not want to be a complete jerk, but also do not want my $1500 to go up in smoke.
How would you proceed?
Thanks
Gary
 
Joined
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Ken St John
I'm quite surprised that they are not offering a full cash refund since they cancelled it, and for a very good reason. (Not sure about the credit card refund option as I've never tried to do that.)

May want to look into the the Small Claims court track if both parties are in the same state ... if they don't wise up and treat people right!!

Good luck!!

Ken
 
Joined
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First, read the details of your contract. The company has the legal right to adhere entirely to it. If they are in violation of the contract, your easiest recourse is to ask the credit card company to refund your money. If the workshop company is in complete compliance with the contract, ask in writing for a refund based on the unusual circumstances. If they refuse the refund, ask for a 100% credit toward the purchase of a workshop that is other than the rescheduled workshop.
 

Butlerkid

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I had to cancel a photo workshop in Texas. The best United would do is grant me "credit" towards another flight.....that must be booked by Dec 31, 2020.

In your case, the lead photographer has your money....but cannot offer the workshop. I would "hope" that he would not want to make money on services he cannot provide.

So................I just called my friend, the Canon pro. He leads both domestic and international workshops/trips. He is refunding money he has received for workshops UNLESS he has already paid either local expenses or in-country expenses. So for local workshops he is refunding money. And his comment was (and I quote) "I don't want to make money for doing nothing. That's not fair."

Good luck!
 
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The best United would do is grant me "credit" towards another flight.....that must be booked by Dec 31, 2020.
That surprises me. I'm reading about lots of companies giving full refunds, waiving change fees and the like.

I cancelled my trip to France that was to begin April 1. AirBnB gave me a full refund when the agreement required that they only give me a 50% refund. American Airlines reinstated my air miles and waived the normal fees to do so. They also refunded all of the taxes and fees I paid using money. Perhaps the reason all of that happened is because the CDC and U.S. Department of State were strongly recommending not going to France.
 
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what did you know about the cancelation policy when you paid ?
This is unchartered territory, they're canceling because they have to so who pays ?
 
Joined
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Alaska
As Mike said unless the contract specifically states that the deposit in non-refundable, I'd turn it over to the credit card company. Which is painful enough. Unless they have already spent money for the workshop that they can't recover they have no basis to hold your funds. Other than they've already spent it. Unfortunately there are some pretty shaky outfits that run workshops.
 
Joined
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Winter Haven, florida
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #9
I have read the refund policy- of coarse not until after the cancellation. There is lots of verbage about what happens if I cancel, but not really anything in writing if THEY cancel. No where does it talk about rescheduling to another date. It does say unused funds can be transferred to another workshop with permission. It also says if workshop cancelled because of weather- too bad. But nothing about them cancelling for other reasons.
I do not want to burn any bridges, and the workshop leader and I have some mutual friends, although we have never directly met.
Best bet is I may transfer it forward if they are doing the same workshop, same time, next year- but I am not happy about it.
Gary
 
Joined
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If they cancelled the workshop, I can't imagine any grounds for them keeping your money unless there are supporting details in the contract.

You're concerned about mutual relationships with the workshop leader. However, I wonder if the workshop leader is an employee of the workshop company or if he is one of its owners. That might make a difference in your mind (or not).
 

Butlerkid

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I understand your dilemma, but really? Losing $1,500 for a year is worth it to not request a refund? If he is the type of person to hold onto money just because he can and just because he doesn't HAVE to refund your money, that says a LOT about him. Almost everyone is getting hurt due to shut downs, stay at home edicts, lost jobs, etc. Sounds like he only thinks of himself and not of others or the bigger picture. Or that he is keeping money he didn't earn.............

I was proud of the Canon pro for the way he is handling this same situation. Not every big name photographer is refusing to refund money without justification! There are lots of very good pro's leading workshops in Florida.........
 
Joined
Dec 3, 2009
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Meadville, PA
This seems simple to me. You paid for a service. That service is not being provided. I would politely request a full refund. If they do not agree to provide a refund within a couple of days, I would contact my credit card company and dispute the charge or possibly report as a case of fraud.

Regardless of the reason, he charged you for something he knows he will not provide. Keeping your money is dishonest. He has no right to your money. If he is doing this to multiple clients I would spread the word far and wide to protect other photographers from falling victim to this guy in the future.
 
Joined
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Winter Haven, florida
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #13
Photographer is pretty much a one man show.
I set this up and paid over the phone on the recommendation of a friend. No, I did not do my due diligence, I did not even read his web page. The workshop dates fit in with my plans perfectly, fairly local, wife likes the area, and peak bird season. So I called and booked on the spot. Contract? Never saw it, never read it, certainly never signed it.
In reading the contract they are very specific what happens if I cancel, but not if they cancel.
I agree, I think if they are not providing the service I deserve my money back. I like the earlier statement of how can they keep my funds for work they did not do?
I have requested a refund very politely be email. So far, crickets. Nothing, Nada.
I'll let you know the outcome. I do think I will turn it over to my credit card company if the workshop does not do the right thing.
thanks for the guidance and support
Gary
 
Joined
Dec 3, 2012
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N Idaho
They canceled, and it was not weather related. They are not able to deliver the service agreed upon. IMHO you should get a full refund. A good friend just had one scheduled for Venice, Italy. The workshop organizer canceled based on the virus situation in northern Italy, and he got a full refund. He was scheduled to stay on a small cruise ship while in Venice, it took them a bit longer to cancel, but they did and refunded his money. The airline also refunded the full ticket of his airfare.
 
Joined
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I have requested a refund very politely be email. So far, crickets. Nothing, Nada.
At the least, send follow-up emails and keep copies of all sent and received emails. If he doesn't respond to you, send a printed letter through the mail and get a signature proving receipt. That's because the credit card company will require you to show that you made a reasonable effort to reach out to the guy. The easier you make the decision for them to be a no-brainer, the easier it is for them to make a decision in your favor.
 
Joined
Mar 16, 2005
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Alaska
A few years back, my cell phone company billed me $650 roaming fees when I was in the lower 48 even though I had purchased nationwide coverage. I spoke with them on the phone, and they said it was not their policy to refund money, even though they admitted it was a mistake. I turned it over to my credit card company, as I had automatic billing through the card. Two days later, I had a full refund by the credit card company, not the phone company. I switched carriers, and I swore I would never again deal with that company.
 

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