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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
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I paid a deposit for a conservatory which I later cancelled

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I paid a deposit for a conservatory which I later cancelled before planning permission was granted. I wasn't provided with a contract or any terms and conditions just a quote for work. I have started counter court proceedings as the company refuses to give me a refund of the £1200 deposit. Can you give me legal arguments that I can present to the court please.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Hi.
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
Did you agree that it was subject to planning permission?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Yes we agreed this verbally. The issue is more around the fact that I cancelled for personal reasons. I was never shown or provided any terms and conditions but a faint photocopy of t's and c's has been sent to me by the company's solicitor. I was only provided with a quote letter and a receipt for the deposit and have never seen the t's and c's before.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Why have they refused?
Obviously the personal reasons issue is a bad point but if you agreed that it was conditional upon planning permission, what is their argument?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

They have advised that there terms and conditions state that the deposit is not refundable unless planning permission is refused. Planning permission hasn't been refused and I cancelled whilst permission was in process of being approved. the permission hasn't come through yet though. My agreement is that the quote paperwork I have doesn't have any information regarding cancellation or any terms and conditions so they are quoting something that they never discussed or provided me with when I paid the deposit.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
I see. That is a problem I'm afraid.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I had been advised that according to consumer law the company has to prove that they provided me with t's and c's. So as this isn't the case I need to know the legislation that states this.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
What you have been told is a nonsense. That would only be an issue if the distance selling regulations applied and they do not because this is an item made to specification.
They have a duty to give you that information if they intend to rely on it but that matters not for the reasons below.
The fact that no paper documents was actually shown to you is a double-edged sword.
Come what may, you have cancelled in circumstances where you had no contractual right to do so. The planning permission had not been refused. The reason that you cancelled was not one that you were entitled to rely on under the contract. I realise that you didn't have a paper document but the best outcome there is that the court will say that they cannot rely on it and so the only contract is the verbal one that was agreed. Even if that happens, you do not describe here agreeing rights of cancellation so your cancellation was still unlawful.
In any event, they cannot just have blanket policies of disallowing a refund. Even if you cancel unlawfully they only have a claim for the sum of their loss. That does include lost profits but even if that is an issue here you would still be entitled to some refund if not the full amount.
That is the only basis that you can rely on here however.
Can I clarify anything for you?
Jo
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Could they bill me for more money then as I cancelled the order even though they have not ordered the conservatory or done any further work? They hadn't booked in the job so no date was set therefore their workmen were not scheduled to start work especially as the planning permission hasn't been granted yet? I'm concerned now about going to court and ending up paying out rather than getting money back.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
They could, in theory, counterclaim for a greater sum but they would have to show that they had suffered greater loss.
That is not likely to happen here because the lost profits claim is not realistically going to be more than £1200. They have done no work on it and are unlikely to have ordered any materials. Even if they have, the court would almost certainly say that they can use those materials for another customer.
They claim is likely to be some admin costs plus possibly lost profits.
It must be said that companies often do not pursue a lost profit claim in the circumstances.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 69771
Experience: Over 5 years in practice
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