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Ask Alice H Your Own Question

Alice H
Alice H, Solicitor/Partner
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 2849
Experience:  Partner in national law firm
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Hello, I have done business with a company that supplies

Customer Question


I have done business with a company that supplies expensive composite planking
For a garden "deck". The value is £3,000 which I have payed.

A choice of colour existed, cedar or grey.
They provided a quotation which detailed all the different items I would need in
Addition to the planks. The quotation also stated the colour option of cedar or grey.

I replied by email stating that the quote was acceptable and " please note the colour is to be grey"
They emailed me a conformation pro forma again detailing all the different items.
I checked it and confirmed it was correct as requested. I failed to notice the plank
Colour was given as cedar, I had only the day before emailed "please note........

An added complication is that the goods have been delivered to our house in Italy
At a cost to me of £550.

The company accepts no responsibility, however I believe they did not demonstrate
A reasonable duty of care by ignoring my written specific instruction.

They have offered to accept the return of the goods to the UK and replace them with
Grey but totally at my expense, another £550 x 2 at least. Not an option but I might
Be prepared to share the cost 50/50.

Do I have any legal redress ?

Many thanks,

John Endacott
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Alice H replied 3 years ago.
My name is Alex Hughes and I'm happy to help with your question today.

Could you clarify what you mean by confirmation pro-forma - is this essentially an order form which they asked you to sign and/or confirm as correct?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Correct. I appreciate that amongst all
The other detail, sizes,thickness length, quantity ,screws, clips etc and
Prices, all of which I checked that I failed to notice cedar. I had after all
Stated in email the day before "please note.........grey"

Expert:  Alice H replied 3 years ago.
Thanks for the additional information.

I am preparing an answer for you and will post it very soon.

Please bear with me.
Expert:  Alice H replied 3 years ago.
Thanks for your patience.

English law recognises that mistakes can arise in the formation of contracts. Such mistakes can be common - where both parties make the same mistake or mutual - where the parties are at cross purposes. If there is objective evidence of mistake then the contract is rendered void ab initio - meaning that its void from the outset - as if it never existed. Usually this means that both parties would revert back to the position they would have been in had the contract not been formed.

In simple terms I think you have an argument to say that the contract to purchase the planking was subject to a common or mutual mistake and, therefore, the contract is void. The effect of this is that you could argue that the company should take back the goods but most importantly you may be able to persude them to entertain a pragmatic solution of sharing the delivery costs on a 50/50 basis to avoid litigation.

I would recommend that you contact the company on this basis and see if you can reach an amicable solution. If not, then I will have to look at some case law to try and strengthen your position - but such research will take a while to complete and you would have to consider additional payment for my time.

Hope this assists.

Expert:  Alice H replied 3 years ago.
Can I assist you further with this matter or clarify the law?

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