Recent allegations against a Jacksonville-based wedding planning company prompted Channel 4 to contact the Better Business Bureau to help consumers avoid any worry while planning their wedding day.
Weddings can be very emotional, and Tom Stephens, the president of the Better Business Bureau (BBB), told Channel 4 it’s easy for scammers to take advantage of that emotion.
Stephens said it's important not to rush into signing anything before people have done their homework.
“If you don't ask, you're not going to get it,” said Stephens.
Document, deliberate and deliver -- that's the advice the BBB hopes all future brides and grooms adhere to while they plan their big day.
“You should keep a record of what meetings you attend and how long they lasted and who, etc.,” said Stephens.
Stephens said it’s important to start matrimonial due diligence on the BBB website to research the business and set a budget. Stephens also reminds wedding shoppers that references are a must, and it’s good to ask for the last 10 customers.
“You want the last 10 to find out if they've had complaints or whatever,” said Stephens. “And if there's a reason why they won't do that, then that, to me, would sort of indicate maybe there's some problems with those last 10 customers somewhere."
It's also recommended that once the final choice is made, get everything in writing. Make sure it includes important dates and prices, as well as the products and services promised.
It’s also important to go over the refund policies. When the wedding date is decided, Stephens said, always pay with a credit card. That way every payment can be tracked, and it’s possible to withhold a charge if necessary.
Also, make sure to understand the company’s so called “cold feet clause.”
“Find out what happens if your honey cancels the wedding at the last minute,” said Stephens.