Renting a Halloween Costume: Avoiding Unpleasant Scares

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Planning to outdo all your friends this year by renting a “sick” Halloween costume? Here’s some tips to help ensure your costume is a treat – and you don’t get tricked.

Penalty clauses: legal or not?

In principle, a store cannot require you to pay a fixed sum of money or a percentage of the rental amount if you don’t respect your part of the contract. However, there are opposing court decisions about this. In some, courts have found these types of clauses invalid and refused to apply them. In others, the clauses were found to be valid.

Before signing, make sure to check the rental contract to see if it has a clause saying you must pay a certain amount if you don’t return the costume on time and in good condition. You may have to pay this if you return the costume late or it has been damaged.

No costume when you need it: what are your rights?  

Obviously, you need the costume for Halloween — not Christmas! You have the right to insist that the costume be available at the time mentioned in the contract. If the store can’t deliver the goods on time, you can consider the contract to be cancelled.

You can help prevent this by asking to insert a clause in the rental contract saying the store will have to pay you something if it can’t provide the costume at the agreed date. 

What happens if you’ve damaged the costume?

You must use the costume in a responsible manner and return it in the condition you received it. You should check the costume when you pick it up. If you don’t mention any defect to the store, you will be presumed to have received it in good condition.

If you do damage the costume, you’ll have to compensate the store, for example, by paying the repair cost. If the damage is so great that the costume can’t be repaired and rented in the future, the store could claim the replacement cost from you.