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Can I get my $$ back?

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I was scheduled to have a wedding and reception at a Bed & Breakfast in South Carolina at the end of May. 13 months prior to the wedding date, I had paid them $500 via credit card for what they termed a "grounds fee." It was never expressed that this was a non-refundable deposit. Nor was there ever a contract signed saying such. The wedding was cancelled 2 months prior to the date and they were notified immediately. When asked to return the $500 grounds fee as I would not be using their grounds, they refused, terming it a non-refundable deposit. They also expressed that I had failed to give them a deposit on the rooms in the Inn. I had, in fact, asked several times over the course of the year if they needed a deposit on the rooms and each time they told me not to worry about it. I attempted to act in good faith with them. I have attempted to solve the issue through repeated phone calls and emails, but have not gotten anywhere with them. Obviously there are many more details, but I believe this is the important stuff. Can I get my $$ back?


Senior Member
From your post, it appears that you have three options:

1) Forget the whole thing and move on.

2) You might consider disputing the $500 charge on your credit card. This might not be successful, especially if you have already paid the charge. Basically, you have 90 days from billing to file a dispute, but you might be able to challenge this time factor due to the delay in notice of 'unsatisfactory goods or product'.

3) Finally, you could sue them in Small Claims court to recover your $500.00. Since you didn't tell us where YOU are, is it practical to litigate in SC (naturally, if this is close to your home, it is not a consideration... but if you would have considerable travel expenses to litigate???)
You say that you have a lot of email communications. PRINT THEM OFF NOW, including the FULL headers!! I have seen numerous cases lost due to computer failures, print it NOW!
Also, you might send them a 'demand letter' by certified RRR. Address it to the owner. It is not uncommon for the owner to not be aware of problems, especially when handled informally (email and phone). Detail the facts, including dates, amounts and who you talked with. Be sure to point out that you were never advised of a no-refund deposit or the room issue. Close with your desire to resolve this amicably, but will pursue litigation if needed. Give them a reasonable time to respond (7 days from reciept?). If they don't, then you will have to go the next step and file in Small Claims.

In closing:
1) File a dispute with the credit card. The worst they can do is deny it.
2) Print out ALL documents on the computer.
3) Formalize you complaint by sending the letter to the B&B.
4) Contact the SC court in their county and ask that a 'complaint package' be sent to you. That way you are already prepared if you have to file.
Some related weblinks:


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