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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
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My husband was purchasing a motorhome I put a £7000.00

Resolved Question:

my husband was purchasing a motorhome for which I put a £7000.00 deposit.
the purchasing has taken a long time due to my husband having heart problems and getting his provisional licence to drive a large motorhome. all along he kept the company informed of events. my husband suddenly collapsed and passed away. I informed the company when he was in Intensive care at Bristol Royal Infirmary and informed them that he would now not be able to get a license and would they be able to refund my deposit. they have said no, it was a non - refundable deposit. my husband passed away nine days later so I called the company again asking for a copy of any agreements signed by us and also a list of vehicles they had available in case I had thoughts of driving one, but to this day I have heard nothing. as I am now a widow, I really would like my deposit returned. Janette Moulds
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.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
have you seen my question?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi Ben, have you seen my question?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

Hi there. Apologies for the delay. How long ago did you put the deposit down?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
It will be about eight months ago now.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

OK thank you, ***** ***** it with me. I am in court today so will prepare my advice during the day and get back to you at the earliest opportunity. There is no need to wait here as you will receive an email when I have responded. Thank you.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

No problem at all.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

Many thanks for your patience. 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.

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.

This is your basic legal position. I have more detailed advice for you in terms of the steps you need to follow if they still refuse to refund you, 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 is no extra cost and leaving a rating will not close the question and we can continue this discussion. Thank you

Ben Jones and 2 other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The seller has actually sold the motorhome that we were buying before Mr Moulds passed away. We then started looking at other ones they had bit as I said my husband passed away before we choose another van.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.

Thank you. If the vehicle was sold then technically the seller has not suffered any losses unless there was a significant difference in price between what you agreed to purchase for and what is was sold for. So you should be able to get back at least a large proportion of the deposit.

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. Before you consider starting legal action you may wish to consider sending a formal statutory demand. This is a legal request which asks the debtor to pay the outstanding debt within 21 days and failure to do so will allow you to bankrupt the debtor (if they are an individual ) or wind up the company (if they are a business). For the relevant forms to serve a statutory demand see here: https://www.gov.uk/statutory-demands/forms-to-issue-a-statutory-demand

4. 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.