I understand, especially in the past few years, that it's been easy for people to pop up online posing as Mistresses, ProDoms, and Dominatrixes, and bilking unwitting subs for money--with no intention of delivering a session.
So I'd like to explain why I require a non-refundable deposit early in our negotiations for a play session.
By the time someone books a date & time with me, I have usually spent a couple of hours in communication with that person, answering questions, explaining what to expect, clarifying the person's interests and limits, and looking at possible dates; and I begin to make preparations and plans. The reason I ask for a non-refundable deposit is as follows:
- The deposit is a type of earnest money, to show you are serious about booking.
- The deposit is non-refundable because if you cancel, I don't get my prep time back.
- I set aside whatever personal or social plans I may have otherwise made, to hold the time you booked.
- Does the person have a website? Does it explain what the person does and doesn't do? Does it lay out policies and information clearly? Does it appear to have been updated in recent months or does it look like it's a relic from the early 2000s?
- If the person is on FetLife or another social network, is there a complete profile?
- Are photos somewhat recent -- at least within the past year?
- Look through the person's feed. Does the person interact on FetLife or the social media site, or is the account mainly being used to post the same ad over and over in different groups?
- Is the person willing to provide references--people who have either been clients and have agreed to be contacted, OR people who know the person within the local face-to-face kink community where they attend events together?