We signed a contract with Kevin Colangelo Premiere DJ's to perform the DJ services at our daughter's wedding one year in advance of her wedding date. We paid him $1500 ($400 upfront and the remainder one month before the wedding) --- far the most charged by anyone we interviewed. We were willing to pay that price because of his claims of being a 37-year-veteran in the business, DJing events with super stars, accuspot lighting, uplighting, 8 array sound system. We selected the 'Kevin Colangelo' package because it guaranteed that he, himself, would perform at our wedding.
His name was even typed into the contract. We paid for 6 hours of play time.
3 weeks before the wedding, (one week after our final payment) when my daughter submitted her wedding planner to him, the hours he was asked to play became an issue with him. We already paid him to play for 6 hours. We changed that to 4-1/2 hours play time, with 1-1/2 hours 'wait' time. Even though the math equals 6 hours either way, he told my daughter we would have to pay him $450 more. When she complained because she couldn't understand why she owed him more money, he told her she could avoid the $450 extra fee by having a different DJ perform at her wedding. Our only other choice would have been to cancel the contract and lose $400 -- and then try to find another DJ 3 weeks before the wedding.
Under duress, we agreed to the alternate DJ. Kevin said we would specifically get a DJ named Ben. Kevin assured us that Ben had worked for him for many years and would have all of the same equipment. After we agreed to the change, Kevin admitted that he would not have been able to make our wedding anyway because he had booked another event the day before and would not have had the time to travel to our site for our wedding.
Subsequently, we tried to contact Kevin to arrange the lighting, names, etc, but he failed to respond.
Two days before the wedding, Showcase Sound called us (Showcase Sound is a DJ service from Rochester. Apparently Ben-- the alternate DJ -- is the CEO and owner of Showcase Sound.). They tell us that we would not be getting Ben, instead we would be getting two different DJ's -- neither of which are even old enough to claim to be veterans of the trade. With no time left, we run through the specifics with Showcase Sound.
At the wedding we found that we did not receive the accuspot lighting, nor the 8 array sound system clearly spelled out in the package information on his website.
After the wedding, we sent him a 'demand' letter asking for 1/2 of our money back for Breach of Contract.
After a series of e-mails back and forth, Kevin Colangelo admitted that he was not aware that Ben did not DJ our wedding. He also tried to tell us that he had the right to change DJ's because of the clause in his contract that states that he can change staff if circumstances arose that were beyond his control. We argued that he was the one that created the 'circumstances', so they were not beyond his control. Then he said we agreed to the changes so that altered the contract. We reminded him that we did NOT get the specific DJ we agreed to under duress.
We ended up taking him to court. We submitted documentation supporting every single one of our claims. This included the contract, his web page, all of our e-mail correspondence, pictures from the wedding, the demand letter, and quotes from two other DJ services that were comparable to what we ultimately received. The judge ruled in our favor. He awarded us $650. Kevin was given 30 days to pay or appeal. He did neither. We then had to go to the courthouse to have the judgment docketed.....We then had to fill out paperwork to give to the sheriff dept so they could intervene for us. We have now been told that the form we filled out gives the sheriffs dept the authority to send Kevin Colangelo forms to fill out in the event he has financial reasons not to pay. This could take 30-60 days. And, after that, if he still doesn't pay, there are more hoops for us to go through.
Bottom line is that Kevin has still not paid us. It's apparent that people can snub our justice system and suffer no recourse (other than the impact to their credit reports and liens against personal property..). The person that 'wins' judgment in a small claims court is NOT guaranteed payment. The onus falls on them to master the long and onerous maze of legal paths.
My guess is that Kevin already knew that