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What To Expect When Booking Entertainment

By: Chris Nickson - Updated: 6 Aug 2013 | comments*Discuss
Contract Entertainment Performer Term

You might want to book a DJ for a big night. Or it may be a clown for your child's birthday party. Maybe you're going to put on a show and try to make some money. Whatever it is, when you're booking entertainment you're not just hiring someone, you're entering into a contract, and that means there are responsibilities on both sides.

Who Is The Entertainment Contract With?

First of all you should establish who your contract is with, whether it's the performer or an agency, if you're using one when booking the entertainment. The identity of each person involved should be made clear in the contract, and so should their responsibilities. Ask around and investigate the reputations of both the performer and the agency before you sign - are they trustworthy? Is there a history of breaking contracts or giving poor shows?

The terms of the contract should be clear enough that you don't need legal advice to understand it. Take time to read it thoroughly, and don't be pressured into signing on the spot - take it home to review. If there's anything you don't understand, ask questions until you're clear in the meaning of the terms. The contract should state not only the date of the performance, but also the starting time and duration. Barring unforeseen problems, the starting time should be as close to the contracted time as possible.

Any other terms, such as feeding or accommodation for the performer, should also be made clear within the contract, as well as when and how payment to the performer is due, and to whom it should be paid. Insist on an invoice for your records.

It should be explained to you at exactly what point the contract is made and you're legally bound by it. If you're making a phone or e-mail inquiry about a performer, you should be told when the booking and the contract will be made.

In most instances, performers will carry their own liability insurance. However, you should establish this at the time of signing the contract, and insist on it as a term, since the insurance premium can be costly for you to bear.

You should watch for unfair terms in the contract. These can include clauses that allow a business to make any changes it wants to an event, denies or unfairly limits refunds where a performance doesn't take place, imposes excessive cancellation charges or excludes liability for death or personal injury, however caused. If you discover any of these, insist on changes or go elsewhere.

Your Consumer Rights Regarding Entertainment

As someone hosting the entertainment, you have the right to expect certain things from a performer, and if they don't happen you can make a complaint.

An entertainment service or performer can't deny you a refund if they haven't delivered to you the performance that was agreed upon. However, if you cancel without justification you can't expect a full refund.

You can't be given a different performer than the one agreed upon without compensation. If, for example, you booked a specific DJ and another arrives, you're entitled to compensation. If the change is important, that compensation may amount to a full refund.

Complaints About The Entertainment

If you feel the entertainment didn't match the terms agreed in the contract - if the performance was too short, for example - contact the person with whom you made the booking. If you don't receive a satisfactory response, you can contact the Office of Fair Trading (www.oft.gov.uk). As a final resort you can take the performer to small claims court.

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