DJ Sued for Breach of Contract
NEW YORK -- 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 -- by far the most charged by anyone we interviewed -- 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 typed into the contract. It included 6 hours of play time.
3 weeks before the wedding, when my daughter submitted her wedding planner, the hours he was asked to play became an issue. 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 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 assured us that the DJ had worked for him for many years and would have the same equipment. The DJ's name was Ben. After we agree to the change, Kevin then admits 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 try to contact Kevin to arrange the lighting, names, etc, but he fails to respond.
Two days before the wedding, Showcase Sound calls 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 find 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 send 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 admits that he was not aware that Ben did not DJ our wedding. He also tries 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. Plus, he says, we agreed to the changes so that altered the contract. We argued that he created the circumstances, so they were not beyond his control-- and that we did NOT even get the DJ we agreed to under duress.
We end up taking him to court. The judge rules in our favor. He awards us $650. Kevin is given 30 days to pay or appeal. He does 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 impact to credit reports and liens...). 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.