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Roger, Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 30903
Experience:  BV Rated by Martindale-Hubbell; SuperLawyer rating by Thompson-Reuters
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I am a professional wedding & portrait photographer in Orange

Resolved Question:

I am a professional wedding & portrait photographer in Orange County, California and have a question regarding deposits vs. retainers in my contracts. I require that my clients pay a $300 retainer to book their session date, which is non-refundable, but is used toward the session fee and product purchase. I used to use the word deposit instead of retainer because someone told me that by law deposits were refundable, regardless of what I wrote in the contract, but that retainers were legally non-refundable. Is this accurate? Which term should I use in my contract?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Business Law
Expert:  Roger replied 4 years ago.
Hi - my name is XXXXX XXXXX I'm a Business litigation attorney here to assist you.

Deposits and retainer fees can be refundable. However, if your agreement says the fee is non-refundable, then it likely doesn't matter whether you call it s retainer or deposit.

However, most contracts use the phrase "non-refundable deposit" for something like this. You could provide an explanation that the fee is to reserve the day and if the client cancels, the fee is to cover the business you turned down because this time was reserved.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Great, thank you!!
Expert:  Roger replied 4 years ago.
Sure. Glad to help. Please let me know if you have any additional questions.

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