Ignore the fact that it was a
charity auction and let's just deal with it as an auction.
On the fall of the hammer, it
creates a binding contract and they agreed to sell and you agreed to buy. You
could have chased them and ask them for the item for some reason, you chose not
to. I don't know whether it should have been delivered or collected but most
people, having paid £650 and wanting it for a particular date, would make sure
that they had it.
Moving aside from auctions and
looking at the basic principles of contract any loss must be within the
contemplation of the parties and therefore, you were actually buying (as to opposed
to bidding in an auction), in order to claim any loss, your potential loss must
be "within the contemplation of the parties". That means that the seller must
be aware that you need it by a particular date otherwise it is no good to you.
You freely admit that they did
not know what date you wanted.
I am going to look at this from
the other perspective and if I was advising the charity, I would simply tell
them to take you to the Small Claims Court.
I think you are bound to pay this
money because it is not the charity fault that you wanted what they were
selling for a particular date but then simply did not bother chasing it up. Of
course, whether they will be bothered doing that or not rests with them
I'm sorry, I appreciate that this
is not the answer you wanted but there is no point in me misleading you.
Does that answer the question?
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