For assorted reasons there’s a lot of chatter recently on deposits, why we pay them, when they’re refundable and, more.
So here is a quick guide.
YOU NEVER USED TO HAVE TO PAY DEPOSITS!!!
And now you do. Times change.
Read on and I’m sure you’ll get some incite.
OK, WHAT IS THE PROCESS? WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT
You will make initial contact with a provider via their preferred method. You might have a date/time in mind. You might be a bit more open. You probably have a rough idea what you want to do.
When this is agreed you pay the deposit.
HOW MUCH DO I PAY?
Different providers have different rules. Some are fixed rate, but typically it’s 50% of the session cost.
They will give you a preferred method of tribute. Usually by bank transfer, but sometimes via a gift card.
GIFT CARD? I MIGHT GET SCAMMED!
You might. You also might turn up to the session and die during breath play.
If something feels off, don’t proceed.
BANK TRANSFER? I HAVE A SHARED ACCOUNT WITH MY WIFE!
See. This never smells right with me. Because if your wife will notice a mysterious £150 deposit, she’d notice the £300 from a cashpoint to pay the full tribute.
WHAT ABOUT CRYPTO?
Some providers do accept crypto for a deposit. If someone accepts it and you’re happy to use it, then fill your boots. However, you shouldn’t pressure someone to accept it. It has it’s own pros and cons but, to be honest, if you pay someone in crypto and they ghost you then you have no legal grounds. As far as your bank is concerned you got, and paid for, crypto.
WHY ARE THEY EVEN NEEDED ANYWAY?
Deposits, in many businesses, provide two way security to confirm the booking.
There had been a time when many Dommes/SWers/etc were booked and then a client no showed and they then had to pay for the room hire, travel, etc. out of their own pocket.
If a deposit is paid then in the event of a no show or late cancellation then the expenses are covered.
There is also a psychological boost that if a client has cold feet, but has paid half, the not wanting to lose the deposit is often a motivation for them to show up.
In a blog from Nikki Whiplash she estimates a pre-deposit ratio of only 30% of clients actually showing up, to only a handful failing to show after she started asking for deposits.
DOES EVERYONE ASK FOR A DEPOSIT?
Actually. No. A lot of people, for example, might waive this with people they trust. Or, if they offer same day or short notice sessions might not require one.
While exceptions apply – a Domme you are booking in advance, or someone high profile / high tribute – a deposit is likely to be required
A FSSW you are seeing at short-ish notice might not
Anyone for online play you will pay in full up front, or, be on a site which charges per minute.
I SAW SOMEONE ASKING FOR AN ARRANGEMENT FEE, IS THAT THE SAME?
Assume not. For those you pay a small amount of money to discuss a possible session. If you don’t agree on anything they keep the arrangement fee.
If you do agree, then some deduct that from a session cost, some don’t. By irony you probably won’t know unless you pay the fee.
WHAT HAPPENS IF THE DOMME CANCELS?
So, she might have her own policy. But this is also affected by local laws.
In the UK if she can no longer go ahead with the session then she should make an attempt to offer another date. If no new date can be agreed, you are entitled to the deposit back.
If a new date is agreed and that is cancelled, you are entitled to the deposit back.
In theory though. I’d hope you were looking forward to the session and while understandably disappointed would want to reschedule when the disappointment fades.
You are not entitled to any further compensation and there’s no obligation for any extras.
SO, UM, I CAN NO LONGER MAKE IT – WHAT HAPPENS?
So. This depends on the provider’s cancellation policy. What should happen is in line with that.
If the provider does not have a cancellation policy then it should be assumed the deposit is forfeit.
Some providers, however, have a policy or a level of discretion. There’s a big difference between giving a few days’ notice and letting them know 10 minutes before a session starts.
If it’s close to the session start time they may have to hire a premises, may have turned down other work, may be unable to fill your slot, may have incurred expenses.
If it is more than a couple of days they may not have incurred any expenses and so of course it’s also in their best interest to let you reschedule (and then get paid the full amount – and hopefully again in the future) rather than withhold half the money even though they can.
What they do, however, is up to them. How you feel about this, is up to you.
The general policy is some will permit one reschedule providing a request to reschedule was made with more than 24/48 hours notice.
I SAW ABOUT A SUB PAYING THE WHOLE BALANCE WHEN THEY CANCELLED – OR LETTING THE DOMME KEEP DEPOSITS WHEN SHE CANCELLED
Which is very noble. But not required.
A lot comes down to context. Both your ability to afford this and the reason it got cancelled. Your relationship with the provider and so on.
Here’s a thing. If you had tickets for a concert and couldn’t go at the last minute, you wouldn’t phone the bar to send them money for the beers you would have had.
If you’d booked a flight and they’d oversold and you couldn’t get on, you wouldn’t tell them to keep the money and you’d pay again.
But for example, if the provider is a friend and you are able to help them out by doing this as a gift, for nothing in return, then it would be appreciated.
WHEN ARE DEPOSITS NOT DEPOSITS?
Particularly in the world of online Findom there is sometimes a little bit confusion as to whether payment sent is a tribute/gift or a deposit, or a payment for services.
Always be clear what you are paying for to protect both of you.
Because while scams do happen, sometimes people pay money without it being clear what it’s for.
You do not have a right to a gift back if you don’t get what you wanted.