Scammer Alert!

How to spot a possible event supplier scammer

Town and Country reported last January 2018 that an average of 400,000 Filipino couples get married each year from 2005 to 2015. Based on this numbers, an average wedding costs around Php 500,000.00 which totals to a Php 200,000,000,000.00 (two hundred billion pesos) industry. This does not include other events such as debuts, birthdays, anniversaries, corporate events, which also uses the same suppliers used in a wedding.

Planning for a wedding is a big responsibility. Planning the finances and budgeting for your big day is a whole different story. More and more clients are looking for the most affordable packages suppliers can offer.

With these numbers and demands, more and more people are starting businesses such as catering, lights and sounds, styling, photo and video, and the like.  

The following tips and red flags will help you identify the real suppliers from the scammers:

1. Wawies

As soon as he puts a ring on it, join the Wawies Facebook Group. Member of this group are previous brides and brides-to-be where they all share their experiences and feedback from their suppliers. You will find out from other members who are legit suppliers and who are scammers.

2. Facebook Groups

Search "Philippine weddings" in your Facebook search bar and you will see all the lists of wedding groups. There is one page you should particularly join, it's the "Party Complaints Issues and Feedback - Philippines" group. This is where you will see all the scammer suppliers even before they guest star on Raffy Tulfo's show. You can also post the links of suppliers you would like to book and ask if they are legit or not before booking them.

3. Facebook Page Review

Before booking a supplier, make sure to visit their Facebook Page and check the review section. If a supplier does not have a review tab, there is a reason why they do not want their business being reviewed and this should be a BIG RED FLAG for you. Suppliers love to have reviews because this will boost their chances of booking more clients.

This is the page of La Maharlika Events and Styling, identified as the events company of Laurence Pardola. Pardola is one of the most famous scammers in the events industry who has already been put in jail but is currently released.

4. Facebook Profile

Sometimes, Facebook Pages can also be misleading. If you are having second thoughts on the supplier, visit the personal profile of the owner. Remember that professionalism should start from the owner. If the owner's name is "jejemon", spelled backwards, or says anything that is not their full name or business name, chances are they are as professional as their profile name. Same thing goes for profile pictures.

This is a sample profile name (LJ VP) of an identified scammer who already has been put to jail but still able to scam a lot of clients

5. Package Inclusions and Rates

In a very competitive market such as the wedding and events industry, service inclusions and rates rarely differ from one supplier to the next. When a package is too good to be true, maybe it is.

To give you an idea on what the going rates are for each supplier, here are some samples:

On-The-Day Coordination - Php 25,000.00

Photo and Video Coverage Basic Package - Php 45,000.00

Catering Basic Package - Php 350.00 / head

Venue Rental good for 150 guests - Php 30,000.00

Some suppliers who are offering all-inclusive packages are able to lower down supplier rates because of their partnership with other suppliers, which is very good for the client. But before you book an all-inclusive package, read reviews and get feedback about the supplier you are looking at. Do not be blinded by very low rates.

6. Legal Documentation

Some suppliers have legal documents such as DTI, BIR, Official Receipts, Barangay Permit, and Mayor's Permit. This is a bit tricky because sometimes even scammers have legal documents to present. Some legit suppliers on the other hand sometimes also do not have legal documents, especially if they only operate from their homes, or if they just started. This is just one thing to consider but is not an over all basis of legitimacy.

7. Contract

As soon as you have booked a supplier, they should provide you a contract detailing their package inclusions or provided service. The contract should also have the company letterhead as well as the terms and conditions and payment terms. Some small scale suppliers do not have letterheads, which is ok as long as they can provide you with a formal and signed contract. Both client and supplier should sign on the said contract. The contract is not just for the safety of the client but for the supplier as well; to make sure that the supplier will deliver and the client is to settle the payment.

8. Payment Terms

The contract should indicate in detail the deadline and amount on when the client should settle in part or in full the suppliers' fee. Caterers and venues usually requires full payment of the contract price at least one month before your event day. Other minor suppliers accept full payment on the day of the event (florist, photobooth, musicians, coordinators, photo and video). But this will still depend on the details of your contract.

Scammers would almost always ask for payments earlier than what is stated in the contract and they will give you all the excuses in the world as to why the sudden urgency. Do not give in, always follow the contract.

The above mentioned factors are red flags you should consider when booking a supplier. There are instances when a scammer passes all of the above factors and will run away with you hard earned cash at the end. The best advise I can give is to book suppliers from bridal fairs or from recommendations of others.

- END -

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