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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 48736
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I have made a deposit of 10% (£300) on some furniture but have

Customer Question

I have made a deposit of 10% (£300) on some furniture but have had second thoughts about taking delivery and paying the balance, as I have decided that the pieces are too big for my room. What are my legal obligations?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
Hello was the furniture bespoke and when do you pay the deposit?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
No it was not bespoke and I paid the deposit during last week. My daughter visited the shop the same day and expressed her concerns about the size of the furniture and the number of pieces. She and I then visited the shop again a day or so later when I expressed my reservations about completing the transaction. My daughter probably took too much of a direct approach and certainly was not aware of the difference in being solicited to purchase something, and the cooling off period one would be able to facilitate and actually going into a retailers and agreeing to buy an item.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
In fairness and retailer offered to make changes (colour and the type of legs on the furniture) and I would be prepared to possibly compromise in purchasing one, or two of the pieces, if this was done with a proper reflection in the total price. During muy initial visit to the shop, as part of the deal and without my soliciting this information, he said he would take my old suite away and deduct £500 from the total purchase price. Thus, a price was agreed. My problem is that I was impulsive (probably) and on reflection if I was forced to purchase all of the pieces I would not have the space to sensibly house it.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I have arrangement to visit the shop this morning at around 11am in order to try and ratify the situation but would like to know my legal position beforehand.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I don't know if I have informed you that I am willing to forego the deposit.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for getting back to me. If you have bought the items in a shop then you do not get an automatic cooling off period and will be bound by the retailer’s own returns policy. Many give you a right to cancel or return items but you need to check what tis specific retailer allows you to do. If there is no cancellation or returns policy then you will be bound by the purchase. However, they cannot force you to take the furniture. S if you are unwilling to go ahead with the purchase you may do so. They cannot realistically sue you for the full value of it because they would not be able to justify that they have suffered losses to that value. They would still be able to sell it to someone else and that will recoup the losses they have made from losing your custom. The worst case here is that you lose your deposit, which you have actually indicated you are willing to do. However, you will have potential rights to get some or all of that too if you wanted to because they may not necessarily be able to justify that they have suffered losses to the value of £300. This is your basic legal position. I have more detailed advice for you in terms of the laws on deposits and what you can do to try and get that back, which I wish to discuss so please take a second to leave a positive rating for the service so far (by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars) and I can continue with that and answer any further questions you may have. Don’t worry, leaving a rating will not close the question and we can continue this discussion. Thank you
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Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I thank you for this response. I am much relieved because the retailer said he could press for the full cost of the furniture. I am prepared to cut my losses by losing the deposit. If I may, I would wish to postpost any further discussion, if I still feel it necessary to continue it with you, until after I have visited the shop this morning
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
Many thanks for your rating. I will post my response in relation to the deposit anyway as I had already prepared it and it may be useful.
Generally, when a person places an order for something and pays a deposit they enter into a legally enforceable contract with the seller. It is implied that the seller has accepted the deposit as security and as proof that the buyer wants to proceed with the contract.
Unless the seller subsequently commits a serious breach of contract, or there was a cancellation clause, the buyer would have no legal right to cancel the agreement and if they do so they will be acting in breach of contract and risk losing their deposit. This is especially true if the deposit was described as non-refundable.
If this was a business seller, they will be subject to certain consumer rules and regulations. For example, you will have some protection under Schedule 2, Regulation 1(d) of the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations 1999. It states that if the contract has been cancelled after a deposit has been placed you are entitled to have the deposit returned in full, unless the seller has spent time, effort and money, in which case they can deduct reasonable expenses. Even if some expenses have been incurred, if these are subsequently recovered, for example by selling the item to someone else, the deposit should still be returned in full. It follows that a blanket non-refundable clause that entitles the seller to keep the deposit in all circumstances is most likely going to be unfair and unlawful.
If you are having difficulties in recovering the deposit when you believe you are entitled to have it returned, advise the seller that you will not hesitate reporting them to the Office of Fair Trading and, if necessary, pursue the matter further through the county court. Exerting such pressure could often work in changing the seller's position in this matter.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Many thanks, ***** ***** for this fulsome response. I have seen the retailer today and we have reached an amicable conclusion, with which I am very satisfied. I felt that your previous advice had given me a 'last resort' position, if the supplier had not been co-operative. He has a local business, which I wished to patronize and he was consequently, eager to please.
Regards.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
I am glad you have managed to resolve this amicably. All the best