Hello, my name is Ben and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. What was actually discussed in the conversation?
I said in my email that if he could do it for the right price we would go ahead. We did pay a deposit but we have never actually signed anything
So you agreed on a price you were happy with?
Yes but we felt he wasn't being honest with us so we tried to cancel the order 9 days later. At no point either in writing or verbally did he say we only had 7 days cooling off period
It is entirely possible to enter into a legally binding agreement without having signed a written contract. Under law for there to be a legal contract, there has to be an offer, acceptance and consideration – if these elements are met then a contract is formed automatically. So through your email conversation it is likely a contract would have been formed because you were made an offer for a specific price, this was accepted and a deposit was paid as proof that you wanted to proceed. So the elements are likely to have been met.
There is no automatic cooling off period in the event you enter into a contract with someone but in certain circumstances this right exists under law. For example, when you get a service via distance, such as email, you can get a 7 day cooling off period by law. There is actually a loophole you could try and use and this is under the Distance Selling Regulations which give you this right to cancel. Assuming the services had not started or you had agreed that they were going to start once the contract was agreed, the other side has an obligation to provide you with certain information about the contract in writing. You can get details of the required informaiton here:
Assuming no such information was provided to you at the time you had agreed on the contract, then the cancelation rights start to run from the date this information is provided to you. If you are still waiting on it, then you can advise them that under these Regulations, as the contract was concluded at a distance (over email) you are protected under these rules and get an automatic 7 day cancellation period, which runs from the date they provide this contractual information.
Please let me know if this has answered your original question or if you need me to clarify anything else for you in relation to this? Thanks