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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 47902
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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My sons van engine blew up and he was recommended to a company

Customer Question

My sons van engine blew up and he was recommended to a company in Birmingham that could easily fix this for £1800. The recommended company were also going to charge him £200 for them coming down to Plymouth and pick up the van. This company wanted him to transfer across £1000 into their bank account before coming to collect the van. After transferring the money over as requested, reading many good and bad reviews, the bad outweighed the good stating that the company would charge more money on collection of the van when they would have fixed the problem and not sticking to the word they had given, or the original price. Some reviews that were left read that individuals were unable to get their vehicle back as the company changed the price on completion of fixing the vehicle after giving a specific price. My son was worried he would have to pay more than expected and tried to stop the transfer of £1000 but it was too late and now the company are telling him that this £1000 acts as a deposit and they will not transfer it back over. The company told him they would send it back over the next day with no problem but now the company are refusing to do so. My son also offered them £200 for the inconvenience. We have heard nothing since. We would like help on where we stand with this situation?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. When was the money transferred? Please note I am mobile today and may not be able to reply fully until this afternoon?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Around Thursday afternoon, 45 minutes later my son made contact with the company and said he didn't want to go through with it
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Generally, when a person places an order for something, including services, and pays a deposit they enter into a legally enforceable contract with the other side. It is implied that the company has accepted the deposit as security and as proof that the consumer wants to proceed with the contract. Unless the company subsequently commits a serious breach of contract, or there was a cancellation clause, the consumer 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. However, if this was a business, 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 company 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, 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. This is your basic legal position. I have more detailed advice for you in terms of the options you have if they refuse to refund and how you can take this further, 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, there I no extra cost and leaving a rating will not close the question and we can continue this discussion. Thank you
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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No action was taken on the van and no work had be done within the 45 minutes, so how do we go about getting the deposit back? Is it possible
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Thank you. Yes it is possible but not necessarily that straightforward. Whenever a dispute arises over money owed by one party to another, the debtor can be pursued through the civil courts for recovery of the debt. As legal action should always be seen as a last resort, there are certain actions that should be taken initially to try and resolve this matter informally and without having to involve the courts. It is recommended that the process follows these steps: 1. Reminder letter – if no reminders have been sent yet, one should be sent first to allow the debtor to voluntarily pay what is due. 2. Letter before action – if informal reminders have been sent but these have been ignored, the debtor must be sent a formal letter asking them to repay the debt, or at least make arrangements for its repayment, within a specified period of time. A reasonable period to demand a response by would be 10 days. They should be advised that if they fail to do contact you in order to resolve this matter, formal legal proceedings will be commenced to recover the debt. This letter serves as a ‘final warning’ and gives the other side the opportunity to resolve this matter without the need for legal action. 3. If they fail to pay or at least make contact to try and resolve this, formal legal proceedings can be initiated. A claim can be commenced online by going to www.moneyclaim.gov.uk. Once the claim form is completed it will be sent to the debtor and they will have a limited time to defend it. If they are aware legal proceedings have commenced it could also prompt them to reconsider their position and perhaps force them to contact you to try and resolve this. Whatever correspondence is sent, it is always advisable to keep copies and use recorded delivery so that there is proof of delivery and a paper trail. The court may need to refer to these if it gets that far.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I am going to get in contact with the company in an email format as this seems like a good idea thanks to your help. I will give them a chance to reply and then I should send a direct letter if there is no response? Are you suggesting that if no replies are made within a certain amount of time I should make a claim?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Yes of course. You can set the time limits for replying, although as mentioned be reasonable give them a week or two but after that you can proceed further if required