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School formals and other parties 

Don't be stood up!Planning a school formal or after-party? Be wary of scammers and businesses offering the ‘ultimate experience’ by following these important tips: 

  • Conduct your own research on the operator. Do an online search and if possible, get references from people who have used them before.
  • Know who you are dealing with. Get the person’s name and their position as well as the business name.
  • Know what you want from the event. Don’t be convinced you need something you may not want.
  • Make sure you get everything in writing. The agreement should list all the services to be provided and their costs, when and where the event will take place, and the refund policy.
  • Don’t sign anything if you don’t understand all the terms and conditions. If anything about the contract is not clear, ask the operator to explain it to you.
  • Always have a parent, teacher or legal professional read over the agreement. And ensure you take the time to understand what it all means for your event.
  • Don’t pay any money until you get a written agreement. When you do pay, use electronic funds transfer, cheque or credit card as it is easier to trace who was paid and when.
  • Keep all receipts and invoices. They may come in handy.
  • If the deal seems too good to be true, it probably is.

In late 2011, NSW Fair Trading received a number of calls from students and parents about being ripped off by businesses offering to organise the ‘ultimate’ school formal or after party. These businesses promised students the world but at the last minute cancelled the events. It turned out that the venues and entertainment had not even been booked, leaving the students with nothing including no refunds.

If things go wrong

Always try to resolve the issue with the business in the first instance. If you are unable to resolve the dispute you can lodge a complaint with Fair Trading.

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