A FATHER was outraged by a £4,400 fee for his daughter’s cancelled wedding at Ribble Valley’s Stanley House Hotel and Spa.

Anthony Roocroft, 56, of Chorley, was forced to cancel a wedding for daughter Charlotte, 27, due to the break-up of her relationship but was dismayed to find a £4,400 cancellation fee, despite having given nine months' notice, on top of the £1,000 deposit he has already paid, bringing the total cost to £5,400.

Mr Roocroft, a graphic design lecturer at Bolton University, told the Lancashire Telegraph that he although he had not read the details of the venue’s policy he feels it is natural that most wedding planners will not expect to have to pay such hefty fees.

He said: “Is this fair? That’s been my question all along.

“The trouble is that unless I’m prepared to spend a fortune on lawyers, it’ll never get challenged.”

He added: “They appear to be working on the presumption that most people won’t.”

According to Stanley House, an award-winning hotel and venue, the cost of cancelling comes to 50% of the estimated price of the event inclusive of venue hire, staff, catering, heat and lighting.

However, Mr Roocroft claims that the payment of £5,400 is likely to exceed the potential profit the venue would have made had the wedding gone ahead.

He said: “My daughter actually works in the events industry and I believe the industry tends to work on a 15% profit margin.

“I instantly wrote to them asking to outline what the cancellation fee was designed to actually cover but they have instantly referred this to their solicitors.”

Responding to questions put to the venue, Stanley House Hotel and Spa general manager Philip Wharton said: “We are unable to comment on specific cases, however Stanley House Hotel and Spa’s wedding cancellation policy is in line with standard wedding industry booking terms and conditions.

“Cancellation fees are waived if couples cancel no less than 12 months prior to their wedding, whereas if a cancellation is made less than 12 months in advance of the planned wedding date, fees apply on a sliding scale from 50 per cent to 100 per cent depending on the date we are made aware of the cancellation.

“We advise all our couples to take out wedding insurance when making a booking with us, and urge couples to check the small print, which can vary from policy to policy.”

Mr Roocroft says he should have been charged around £3,750 less than he was.

His experience comes at a time when the Competition and Marketing Authority has been critical of excessive cancellation fees.

In an open letter sent to venues in 2016, the Authority says: “In certain circumstances, these terms may be unfair to consumers, cause consumers financial loss and breach consumer protection law.”

It adds: “Consequently, we are writing to major venue providers, including your business, to raise your awareness of the potential for consumer contract terms to be unfair, and the need for you to ensure that your contract terms comply with consumer protection law.”

The letter specifically names non-refundable deposits and cancellation costs that are disproportionate to the actual price of events as unfair practices.