Recently, I’ve heard and read about complaints regarding UK Bride from dozens of service providers who signed up for the company’s advertising and lead generation scheme, which comprises a free-of-charge, 3-month ‘try before you buy’ campaign followed by a paid-for campaign if clients choose not to opt-out.
Most of these complaints originate from small business owners, i.e. (service providers) such as filming contractors, hotels, cake makers, etc. and have been shared on social media platforms such as Trust Pilot and the Facebook group Wedding Industry Inequities.
For the benefit of my readers, a service provider is defined as a business offering a service to a customer.
Who are UK Bride?
UK Bride was officially incorporated on the 24th of June 2002 and is registered here in the United Kingdom under Whitespace Publishers Ltd.
UK Bride is one of the UK’s leading wedding websites with 1,000,000+ members and boasts more 5-star reviews than its main competitors combined.
UK Bride serves couples looking to get married and (service providers), i.e. companies that can assist couples with their wedding plans, such as cake makers, photographers, florists, videographers, hotels, etc, through its free trial and premium advertising and lead generation campaigns.
In addition, UK Bride states:
Most of our publishers sell advertising space with the traditional ‘buy before you try’ model (as we did before Covid).
We now operate a ‘try before you buy’ system, which is a much fairer system. There is no obligation to buy if the client feels the website and leads are not working for them.Source: UK Bride
As mentioned, UK Bride has more 5-star reviews than its main competitors. However, they also have many unhappy customers on Reviews.io, Trust Pilot, Google and the Facebook group Wedding Industry Inequities. Most of the negative reviews I read focused on alleged:
- Fake Lead Generation.
- Contract Fraud, Breach of Contract, Misleading Advertising etc.
- Review Removal on Trust Pilot.
Furthermore, while the Facebook group Wedding Industry Inequities hosts many unhappy customers and service providers who have had a bad experience with UK Bride, the company informed me that some of the reviews and comments are from customers not known to them.
1. Lead Generation.
UK Bride helps small businesses with lead generation. Lead generation is the action or process of identifying and cultivating potential customers for a business’s products or services.
The company advertises a FREE 3-month advertising trial on their site for small companies looking for leads in the wedding industry, which is nice of them considering the COVID-19 pandemic and recession practically killed most of us small businesses off.
However, several hundred service providers have other opinions about the company regarding leads they allege are fake.
UK Bride offers service providers, such as wedding photographers, cake makers, etc, to generate “All Standard Leads”, which is a random selection of bridal customers’ in close proximity to service providers’ businesses or “Targeted Leads”, which are based on when brides are getting married, their budget and number of guests all of which will be located in a service providers chosen postal code area.
On the 24th of October, 2023, I contacted UK Bride asking why so many unrelated service providers are complaining about the company’s lead generation and whether the allegations are true.
This is what UK Bride had to say on the matter:
The leads are genuine and have been for 21 years. The leads are our members who opted in to third party contact when they joined our site. Our unique direct marketing solution provides you with a list of brides-to-be in your area.
The information is usually captured at a time when they are actively seeking wedding services and have opted in to receive offers and information from third parties.
It’s important to note that some of the brides are in the first stages of wedding planning and so you can establish early contact with them, and some are looking to book right now.
Our leads provide a constant and easily manageable source of potential new customers that you simply email your information to (and in some cases post). The list may include their planned wedding date (or estimated wedding date), giving you the opportunity to time your marketing campaign perfectly.
If you are a wedding venue you will not receive the wedding date as part of your leads as the bride-to-be won’t have booked her venue yet, meaning she will not know the exact date of her wedding.
Are the brides-to-be included in the free leads all looking for my services?
We capture the data at the time of joining, some brides may have since booked a photographer for example or a venue, but we aim to supply leads that are best suited to your business based on the information provided by the bride-to-be at the time of joining (only).
The lead time from when we supply you with details of a bride-to-be and their wedding date naturally will vary generally from 6 months to 2 years before their planned wedding day.
The wedding date we provide will be the date provided by the bride-to-be at the time they registered their details or their estimated date.
We are not aware of ANY fake accounts, please forward on for to us to investigate.Source: UK Bride
I asked UK Bride whether the company used AI BOTS to generate their leads because lead generation bots are often designed/programmed by web teams to initiate conversations with customers to build interest in its business and products/services.
That said, this scenario is unlikely because most replies a BOT generate are generated by the programmer, of which the BOT auto generates a standard response to every customer.
Furthermore, there was no evidence supplied by business owners that suggested they were in receipt of identical and auto-generated replies.
UK Bride replied, stating:
All leads are live enquiries, some enquiries are directly for a particular client, sometimes a bride wants a quote from ‘photographers’ in her area.
Sometimes the brides want a direct phone call, sometimes they just to gather information as they excitedly plan their wedding.
When an enquiry is made the UKbride system sends the requests out directly to the supplier or suppliers (and they receive an email).
We don’t use robots and this is not done by humans. All enquires are real and from the bride to be.
None are from UKbride. All data we receive on the join up pages (ie: their name, address, email, telephone number, quantity of guests is the raw data inputted by the bride).
We use stock text to ‘humanise a reply to a supplier’. Around 50% of our members upload a profile image.Source: UK Bride
While UK Bride claims they do not use BOTS or AI (Artificial Intelligence), they did confirm that all the data they receive from customers looking to get married is inputted by the clients themselves on the join-up pages, i.e., their name, address, email, telephone number, and this is where things can become complicated regarding lead generation fraud.
According to Gleanster Research, only 25% of leads are legitimate and should progress to sales. That leaves three-quarters of service providers’ sales pipelines filled with fake and unqualified leads that won’t convert.
Lead generation fraud is a big problem for businesses worldwide. Marketing teams investing heavily in PPC advertising are especially vulnerable, as every spam lead reduces your ROAS (Return on Ad Spend).
How does it work?
Fake leads are generated when a bot fills out your online form, rather than a genuine human. Bots often input stolen user information from real people, making it difficult to tell whether these leads are real or fake.
Bots are responsible for 38% of fraudulent activity online. Unfortunately, it’s the most common source of invalid traffic, so most service providers will encounter it.
Lead generation fraud uses bots to generate fake leads using misappropriated user data. It’s often intended to make money for fraudsters. Other times, it can result from a deliberate attack from a competitor brand seeking to give themselves an advantage by wasting your PPC budget, but this scenario is much less common.
2. Contract Fraud & Misleading Advertising etc.
The second most common complaint regarding UK Bride is their contract of agreement, terms and conditions and sales pitch, which many service providers argue the company has illegally signed them up to via misleading advertising.
There are two ways service providers can opt into UK Brides’ free-3 month trial or premium service, which is via online adverts that direct the service provider (once clicked) to the UK Bride website.
From there, the service provider must read the advert, terms and conditions, etc. If they wish to proceed with the service, physically input their details on multiple pages, including agreeing to the contract, and then add their banking details to pay the administration fee and any charges that may apply after the free-3 month trial ends, i.e, an upfront annual payment for services the supplier signed up for.
The second is a phone call in which a UK Bride representative calls the service provider to outline their services, offers, etc. In contrast, a service provider can also phone UK Bride to enquire about UK Brides’ services and offers. etc.
From there (and if interested), the service provider will be emailed documents to read and digitally sign, not forgetting to add their payment details to commence with either the free trial or premium service.
As previously mentioned, UK Bride offers service providers such as wedding photographers, videographers, cake makers, hotels, etc., a “free 3-month advertising online campaign”, of which they charge a small £30+VAT admin fee to cover the cost of setting up a service provider’s campaign.
However, service providers have reported being duped into a contract they never physically signed, i.e., a contract they state “must be wet signed”, then being charged over £2.4K once their free trial has ended.
Service providers have also reported being summoned to the Civil Claims Court after refusing to settle their outstanding balance, while others have allegedly been on the unfortunate receiving end of County Court Bailiffs.
– Digital Contracts.
Nowadays, most contracts individual customers and businesses sign are digital and completed online via a website or via an electronic email, of which the consumer/business must click one or multiple boxes of agreement. i.e. “Yes, I agree to the T&Cs outlined in this document”.
Furthermore, businesses that are offering business-to-business contracts often use DocuSign. DocuSign eSignature is document signing software that you can use to legally—and securely—collect approvals (signatures) online in minutes. Used to replace lengthy manual signing processes, e-signatures speed the agreement process and maximise productivity.
Digital contracts work by moving all paperwork regarding a contract online. They are a means of reducing the time taken to create and complete a contract. By moving contracts in a digital space, repeat copies and drafts of contracts are not required.
Digital contracts or (E-contracts) sometimes called docu-sign contracts let you easily track and find data compared to traditional contracts. Since everything is stored in one place, such as an email, along with the contract terms and conditions, refund policy, etc.
Digital contracts are used frequently by:
- Mobile phone companies
- Landline companies
- Power and utility, i.e. (gas, water, electric) etc.
- Manufacturing companies
- Architecture, engineering, and construction
- Information technology
- Accountancy and tax
- Human Resources (HR)
- Press and Media subscriptions
- Government & Insurance
- Netflix, Apple, Microsoft, online gaming, etc
– Wet Signature Contracts.
As mentioned, most service providers complaining about UK Brides’ contract of agreement argue that they’ve never physically signed the company’s contract, i.e. a “wet signature”, thus implying that a representative of UK Bride has illegally signed the contract for the service provider, an allegation which if proven in court could lead to conviction under Section 1 Forgery Act 1981.
Wet signature is a term to describe the process of signing a physical paper document, form or contract with pen and ink.
These contracts are mainly reserved for contractual agreements worth thousands and millions of pounds for companies selling housing, commercial business lettings, and land, of which the signed contract is often witnessed by both party’s legal representatives.
With that said, most small companies still use the old-fashioned “wet signature” contract signing for weddings, events, etc, where lots of money is at stake, though it’s not necessary in most cases. If you’d like to find out why, please read more here.
Therefore, and because UK Bride is not a UK tax authority, land registry, selling land, commercial lettings, or housing worth millions of pounds to individual customers, there is no need for them or the service provider to wet sign a contract. However, as mentioned, UK Bride has assured me it sends its service providers a DocuSign form to digitally sign. Please see the example image below.
It’s also important to note that companies in the UK are paying thousands of pounds annually for paper use and waste and will be required to reduce their carbon footprint by 2050 (net zero) or face heavy fines.
Therefore, UK Bride is doing themselves and us all a favour by cutting their carbon footprint and going digital.
– Non-Cancellable Contract.
Like most companies worldwide, UK Bride works by offering “Non-cancellable contracts”.
A non-cancellable contract means, as of any date of determination, for example, an agreement between a Borrower and its customer providing for the rendering of services by a Borrower to such customer for at least twelve months, and such contract may not be terminated by such customer without cause during such twelve-months.
These types of contracts are prevalent; for example, with most British mobile phone companies, customers are usually signed up to a non-cancellable contract of between 12-24 months, meaning the customer is legally bound to that contract (once signed) and must pay the monthly fees after a cooling off period of say 14 days or in UK Brides case the end of their free trial period.
There’s nothing illegal or unethical with non-cancellable contracts, and customers can easily “opt out of any impending contract” (before it’s due to commence, i.e. before a trial period ends) or at the end of 12-14 months (during the contract period), depending on the contract terms and conditions.
Businesses usually offer customers various ways to “opt-out” of a free trial period, which is communicated to the customer/service provider and written in the business’s T&Cs, for example.
- Cancelling by email
- Cancelling by phone call
- Cancelling by text message
- Cancelling by email and phone call
- Cancelling in writing (pen and ink)
- Cancelling via a stop code
Therefore, it is the duty and responsibility of the service provider to read the contract and its T&Cs they are agreeing to and/or cancel their free trial period before the non-cancellable contract takes effect.
In contrast, businesses that offer a free trial, try before you buy, etc., to a customer must communicate to the customer in writing or verbally all charges and trial end dates.
Businesses that do not make their terms and conditions clear from the start, of which the customer is then unexpectedly billed for services they were not informed about, could soon face legal action. Additionally, consumers/service providers could be eligible for a refund as defined under the Payment Services Regulations Act 2009.
Furthermore, UK Bride service providers have three (or 6) months from their free trial start date to cancel their trial or any further contract renewals by acquiring a “stop code”, which can be obtained via this link, all mentioned in the UK Bride T&Cs.
In 2017, the British government announced plans to ban companies from taking credit card details for free trials to protect consumers from facing unexpected payments when a subscription is renewed or when a free trial ends.
The aim is to stop so-called “subscription traps”, where people who have registered for a free trial get charged for services they didn’t expect.
Over 21% of people in the EU who have tried a free trial have reported having a problem with it, the majority in the cosmetics and healthcare industry, according to a study on subscription traps.
However, it is essential to note that the British government are looking at targeting companies that offer free trial subscriptions, of which they do not make clear in their T&Cs or sales pitches that customers will be charged for the service at the end of the trial.
Subscription traps usually happen when a site doesn’t make clear that signing up for a free trial means that the user is also signing up for a paid subscription or automatically taking payments for a future subscription without warning.
In one example, a user of food delivery service HelloFresh was unexpectedly charged £38 after their first “free trial” box. A customer of dietary service Weight Watchers took a free trial subscription and was told a specific end date but was still charged for the next month, and the end date was extended.
The Citizens’ Advice Bureau recommends:
Companies offering trial periods for subscription products or services should remind consumers that they will enter into a binding contract at the end of the trial period.
This should be done several days before the end of the trial and should make the cost of the subscription clear.Source: CAB
I contacted UK Brides Account Manager, to ask whether they were behaving ethically by not reminding their service providers that their free trial was ending.
UK Bride replied, stating:
Yes, as we have given you a free trial and know that if you are unhappy for whatever reason, you will choose to opt out.
You’ll also only benefit from the discount offered on the order form (currently 50% off our standard charges to selected businesses only) when your campaign continues.
We hold the discounted price for 14 days (only) after the trial ends, and therefore we automatically take payment on the card you provided. If you don’t request and obtain a STOP CODE before the renewal and you don’t pay within 14 days, then the standard charges apply, and this sum will be due for payment.
Our sales team are trained and monitored and we may record calls.
It is important to note that it is YOUR responsibility to OPT OUT BEFORE the trial ends if you are not happy for whatever reason. This is the deal for the free trial.
If you prefer, we can reduce our Standard Fees by 50% and you can pre-pay and not have a free trial with the automatic renewal – if this is the case simply contact your UKbride sales advisor.
Just for further clarity we have double checked with our solicitors and there are no legal requirements to provide a reminder with ‘business to business’ contracts.
In a recent UKbride court hearing a judge declared that “men of commerce have the freedom to agree to contracts between them whether the outcome is favourable or not.
In another recent UKbride court hearing the judge declared the contract to be “abundantly clear”.Source: UK Bride
Review Removal on Trust Pilot.
On the 11th of October 2023, Sonja de Rijk, admin of the Facebook group Wedding Industry Inequities, and several other members alleged that: “UKbride pay to have negative reviews removed.”
This is quite a serious allegation and has led to many happy UK Bride service providers doubting whether Trust Pilot is legit with one member stating: “Saw the reviews about UKBride here (never heard of them before), and yet they get a fantastic review on trust pilot….. Does anyone on here use Trust Pilot to reassure potential clients??“
Trust Pilot has received a fair bit of negativity in recent years regarding its lack of moderation concerning fake and abusive reviews; however, do they work with UK Bride to remove negative reviews?
I reached out to Trust Pilot’s Press and PR Team for further clarification, and this is what they have to say:
Thank you for your e-mail.
Please note that Trustpilot is a review platform. We are not affiliated with any of the companies reviewed, apart from our own.
As regards your other enquiry, we always strive to uphold transparency and integrity, as these are the pillars our company has been built upon.
We place a review offline only when we are made aware that it contravenes our guidelines for a specific reason.
We also have a designated fraud detection software, which helps us identify and remove inauthentic reviews. You can read more about it here.”
Source: Greta P (Trustpilot Content Integrity)
Trust Pilots, Senior Communications Manager Christie Garrett also reiterated the following in an email to me on the 30th of October, 2023.
Thank you for your email.
To confirm, no business can “pay to remove reviews” on Trustpilot and any accusations of this nature are not true.
Anyone who’s had a genuine experience with a business, whether positive or negative, is welcome to leave a review on Trustpilot, and we treat all reviews equally, regardless of whether they’re written about a free or paid business user.
You can find more information in this Support Centre article. I hope that helps for now.Source: Senior Communications Manager Christie Garrett
Trust Pilot allows all companies registered to respond to positive and negative reviews, too.
That said, several accusations have been made by members of the Wedding Industry Inequities Facebook group alleging that staff members of UK Bride are leaving “fake positive reviews” on the Trust Pilot review site.
Yvette Anne Curry does work for UK Bride, and while her review does “raise eyebrows”, Mrs Curry made it clear in her review that she was acting as a customer subscribed to UK Brides services rather than a paid fake reviewer.
It’s also worth noting that UK Bride does not hide that Mrs Curry left a positive review as a paid subscriber to the UK Brides services. Indeed, if they had anything to hide, they wouldn’t have made mention of Mrs Curry’s review.
I contacted Mrs Curry for further clarification via her personal Facebook profile, Facebook page and Mrs Curry’s UK Bride personal email. However, I’m still waiting for a response.
UK Bride did respond back to me regarding this review, in which they stated:
UK Bride has stated that they do not encourage staff members to leave a review, and it’s important to note that there are over 3,000 5-star reviews on Trust Pilot alone.
Yvette Curry also runs her own businesses connected to the wedding industry and does advertise on UK Bride.
We have spoken to Yvette Curry and while her review was honest and based on her own businesses, we insisted that she deleted that review when it was criticised by the group earlier in the year.
You will discover it is not listed on Trust Pilot. Yvette worked for the business over 8 years ago, and after a couple of years left and then re-joined UK Bride this year. She has been self-employed.Source: UK Bride
UK Bride boasts over 3,500 reviews on the Trust Pilot site, 84% of which are positive reviews, primarily of happy service providers and customers.
UK Bride operates under Whitespace Publishers Ltd and was founded in 2002. It remains the number-one leading wedding website on Trust Pilot and boasts more 5-star reviews than its main competitors combined.
UK Bride serves both customers looking to get married and service providers (businesses) that can assist couples with their wedding plans, such as cake makers, florists, hotels, restaurants, photographers, etc., most of which are small businesses.
Like many companies worldwide, UK Bride has many unhappy customers, primarily service providers. Though, it’s important to note they represent a tiny minority. That said, are these allegations businesses are accusing UK Bride of factual?
Trading Standards officers Daniel Brown (Principal Trading Standards Officer) and Dee Stockley (Senior Trading Standards Officer) of Lincolnshire Trading Standards were invited to investigate UK Bride. They found no evidence of aggressive sales tactics and deceptive advertising.
Additionally, Daniel Brown was invited to get a Stop Code, he was passed the keyboard and asked to follow the simple instructions; Daniel logged in and pressed the one button to stop his test account. From that action, he received the immediate message with the Stop Code displayed (which is also emailed to the client and UK Bride). Daniel was “completely surprised” at how easy it was despite hearing claims that obtaining a Stop Code was an arduous task.
Moreover, UK Bride makes their terms and conditions and contracts clear from the start, which service providers are not obligated to enter into.
Concerning “subscription traps”, UK Bride does make it clear in their advertising terms and conditions under section (4.1. of contract duration) the following:
“The Contract shall commence on the Start Date and continue for an initial period of 6 or 12 months (as specified on the order form), at which point it shall automatically renew for successive periods of 6 or 12 months (each a “Renewal Period”) unless terminated earlier.”Source: UK Bride Advertising Terms and Conditions
And in 4:2 of the contract duration, the following:
“If the Customer fails to obtain the STOP CODE by clause 4.1, the Contract will continue for a further Renewal Period, and the Customer will be responsible for paying the Charges for such Renewal Period.”Source: UK Bride Advertising Terms and Conditions
Trading Standards stated they were “more than satisfied and that the contract, the deal, the terms and conditions, the website and the process are clear and fair.”
UK Bride also stated:
“We are more than happy to provide any further information they (Trading Standards) require in follow-up. Trading Standards have advised us that we have more than satisfied their curiosity and require nothing further at this stage.”Source: UK Bride
Regarding non-cancellable contracts, like hundreds of British and overseas companies, UK Bride works this way to secure payment for services and/or goods per month.
Additionally, no law or act in England and Wales states a business-to-business contract must be signed in pen and ink (wet marked). Business-to-business contracts are commonly digitally signed via electronic forms sent from one business to another.
That said, some business-to-business contracts do require a wet signature. However, it’s important to note these types of contracts usually involve a lot of money concerning land, housing, etc and laws and acts passed by governments.
While some service providers have been “caught off guard”, they must ensure they read everything (i.e. terms and conditions) before applying their digital signature to a contract and agreeing to the terms and conditions regarding a service they’re interested in.
A serious allegation was made concerning UK Bride forging contract signatures, but no proof was supplied to back these claims up.
UK Bride sends service providers a “docu-sign envelope“, of which they must physically apply their signature (in digital format) and send it back to the company for the service/contract to proceed.
In addition, service providers must also tick multiple boxes agreeing to the company’s terms and conditions.
Concerning withholding a “stop code” or making it difficult for service providers to find it, I found the “stop code” page on the UK Bride site, with clear instructions informing me what to do.
There are several references in the UK Bride’s T&Cs regarding the stop code and how to locate it too. UK Bride states:
“The customer can obtain a STOP CODE from www.ukbride.co.uk/stop and by following the instructions.”Source: UK Bride
A Google search also revealed multiple pages explaining how to obtain a stop code and what to do if you do not receive one.
I ran several scans of the UK Bride site using BOT Guard to check whether the company was being attacked by fraudsters and/or competitors concerning fake lead generation on the 28th of October, 2023.
The scan revealed that the UK Bride website was in good health with a B rating. UK Bride also implements CAPTCHA technology to filter bot traffic, which is good online business practice.
Furthermore, UK Bride uses a Web Application Firewall (WAF) that was found to be working “reasonably well” in filtering and monitoring HTTP traffic between a web application and the Internet.
Furthermore, the UK Bride website is protected against well-known and widespread threats.
However, it was found that the website protection still needs to be improved with a “professional-level solution” that provides regular updates.
That aside, no evidence was found that suggested external forces, i.e. fraudsters or competitors, were at play regarding fake lead generation on the UK Bride website.
However, it’s important to note that the BOT scan cannot determine whether UK Bride is using BOTS to generate fake leads using software. However, they did assure me they had no reason to.
In contrast, service providers that allege the company is sending internal fake leads never provided me with evidence to back their claims up, i.e., email, name of the sender, email header data, telephone number, etc, for me to investigate their claims further which is something I would have expected considering many service providers on Trust Pilot and Reviews.io allege the company are in fact doing.
I also contacted Greta P. (Trustpilot Content Integrity Officer) and Senior Communications Manager Christie Garrett to verify whether UK Bride is paying Trust Pilot to remove negative reviews.
As anticipated, Trust Pilot assured me: “UK Bride does not pay them to remove negative reviews and allegations of this type are false.”
Regarding UK Bride paying its staff members to leave fake positive reviews, the only evidence I found that raised eyebrows was a review from the 21st of March, 2023, from Yvette Anne Curry, who works part-time for UK Bride.
I reached out to Miss Curry for more clarification. However, I’m still waiting for a reply. That said, the review indicates that she was using UK Brides services as a paid subscriber.
No evidence was supplied to me proving UK Bride was or has illegally used a service provider’s banking details to secure payment for a subscription service.
All banking details are submitted by the service provider before the contract can proceed.
Companies are charged a £30+VAT fee for their free-3 month advertising trial, which is apparent in their terms and conditions that they will be charged if they fail to cancel their trial in time.
In contrast, there was no evidence to suggest that UK Bride were using “heavy-handed bullying tactics” to reclaim outstanding invoices/debts.
That said, I did ask a certified Graphologist to inspect several CCJ letters and emails sent to service providers in the Facebook forum Wedding Industry Inequities to analyse how UK Bride communicate with its service providers.
Dr Lawson, a Forensic Graphologist, did not find evidence suggesting that UK Bride were using bullying and aggressive written communications to intimidate their service providers into paying outstanding invoices.
However, he stated, “The tone could be lowered somewhat to not come across as assertive and blunt.”
For clarity, no one from UK Bride or the Facebook group, Wedding Industry Inequities asked me to write this article, nor did they pay me.
The purpose of this investigative article was to find out whether UK Bride was corrupt and guilty of the accusations above that members of the group Wedding Industry Inequities accuse UK Bride of.
T’s and C’s are critical when it comes to small business contracts, and there are many benefits from reading them and understanding their impact.
Here are just a few: Avoid extra fees or charges – if you don’t read the terms and conditions properly, you could pay extra.
And this is what has happened regarding the tiny minority of service providers accusing UK Bride of multiple wrongdoings: they’ve not read what they’re agreeing to, and as a result, they’re now taking their frustration out on a leading wedding industry organisation.
And while members of the Facebook group Wedding Industry Inequities believe they’re in the right, they’re actually not.
The current ongoing “hate campaign” aimed at UK Bride isn’t hurting them. Instead, it’s discouraging small businesses from joining UK Bride that rely on such organisations to sell their services in the wedding industry to a broader audience.
The hate campaign is, in fact, hurting those small businesses who are also now wary of joining similar organisations such as Hitched, BrideBook, etc, to name a few.
UK Bride also stated:
Despite the main protagonists in the Facebook Group claiming that our contract will not stand up in a court of law, Steve Shields, Paul King and Sonja De Rijk are completely wrong, all judges from different courts in different parts of England and Wales have awarded in favour of UK Bride every time, with the exception of one case, Dominic Schrader, (who is now an admin in the Facebook Group), which we are appealing.
The frustration that we have is that the admins of The Facebook Group are publishing biased, unprofessional and layman advice which is not written by a lawyer. The one case which was won, is celebrated loudly in the group, but virtually all lost cases are not even mentioned. Not even from the clients who were vocal in the group before their court hearing. This is creating more unnecessary court hearings, plus all the court costs and interest etc which are added.
If the admins were more transparent with their Group members, they could be suggesting that they talk to UK Bride to see if we can help, for example, with a payment plan (which is usually offered (before the court process)). Taking our clients to court is the absolute last thing we wish to do.Source: UK Bride
UK Bride also went on to state:
Steve Shields and Sonja De Rijk, initially took out a free trial, for their wedding venue in Scotland https://planecastle.co.uk and refused to pay their UK Bride invoice despite not obtaining a Stop Code.
Their business has since dissolved – see evidence attached. As a result Steve and Sonja never paid their UK Bride invoice and seem to have an unhealthy obsession towards UK Bride.
Their 1-star reviews on Google seem to demonstrate the characters of the admins of the group, as does Steve Shields Facebook Profile Page (enclosed.).
Their main focus seems to be helping members to get out of their legally binding contracts. UK Bride has honoured its side of the contract and clients who have chosen not to opt our must honour theirs.Source: UK Bride
I would also like to point out that many members of the Wedding Industry Inequities Facebook group have never had any dealings with UK Bride, i.e. paid-for services.
Moreover, I found several posts in the forum from admins trying to intimidate UK Bride staff members by posting images of their families and home addresses.
In addition, and with no evidence supplied to back the group’s allegations up, members could face legal ramifications as defined under the UK Governments Defamation Act 2013.
I also came across a GoFundMe page set up by admin Steve Shields, which he states: “was established to specifically help small businesses who were victims of the business practices of UKbride. This fund will allow us to secure specialist legal advice and support for the members of this group, which will be of benefit to all our members.”
However, as there is no evidence to suggest UK Bride have done wrong, the purpose of the GoFundMe page is pointless.
Thank you for reading.
J. J. Williamson | The Norfolk Photographer
My name is Jon Williamson; I’m an ethical photographer and writer with fifteen years of experience in the industry. I shoot landscapes, seascapes, riverscapes, fine art, and portraits. I also run workshops, run tours, and offer one-on-one photography feedback.