Thank you. When you have entered into a contract for work and materials, where the main focus is labour and skill, the Consumer Rights Act 2015 says that the work must be:
• Carried out with reasonable care and skill (to the same standard as any reasonably competent person in that trade or profession);
• Finished within a reasonable time (unless a specific time has been agreed); and
• Provided at a reasonable price (unless a specific price has been agreed).
So you can argue that they have failed to complete the work within a reasonable time and to a specifically agreed timeline. You can therefore argue they have acted in breach of contract and that you should be able to recover your deposit as the whole contract should now be void.
You will have further rights because as 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 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 using the materials elsewhere, the deposit should still be returned in full.
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 or Trading Standard 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 should they fail to return the deposit, 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