PEORIA, Ariz. -- Jody Starbird has wonderful memories of her recent wedding day.
But, like many brides, she tried to keep the ceremony from being too expensive.
"We looked for the least expensive way because we didn't have a big budget in the first place," she said.
Starbird said she started planning the event and one of the first things she did was look for a disc jockey. So, after searching online, she decided to meet with one.
"He came out and we met at Starbucks and it seemed fine," she explained.
Starbird said she liked the DJ, so she signed a contract and paid $495, the full amount, in advance.
However, after she continued to plan the rest of her wedding, Starbird realized she couldn't afford a DJ after all. Other wedding expenses were eating up her budget. As a result, she canceled the DJ service with the expectation she would get some, if not all, of her money back. But, she didn't.
3 On Your Side got involved and looked at that contract that Starbird signed, but things did not look very promising.
First, I noticed that the contract clearly indicated a non-refundable $250 retainer fee for canceling.
The contract went on to say that if services were canceled 90 days or less from the wedding, then nothing would be returned.
Unfortunately, Jody canceled on day 89, which is just one day past the 90-day deadline. It's an unfortunate situation for Starbird, who says she really could use that money now.
"Especially for us because we're only on one income," she said. "It can help with a lot of things like food or diapers or anything like that."
3 On Your Side had several conversations with the DJ service. The owner told me that he considered giving at least a partial refund to Starbird. However, he later changed his mind after his conversations with Starbird deteriorated following a negative comment he claims she posted about the situation on the Internet. He also reiterated that the contract is a "legal binding document."
He's right about that. But, this issue is a good reminder to always read any contract thoroughly and understand what you are getting into. Had Starbird asked more questions or reviewed the two-page document more closely, she might have been able to cancel the service before the 90-day cutoff. That means she would have at least received something back.