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JGM
JGM, Solicitor
Category: Scots Law
Satisfied Customers: 11135
Experience:  30 years as a practising solicitor.
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My parents paid a company a deposit of £1528.00 wet room

Customer Question

My parents paid a company a deposit of £1528.00 for a wet room to get fitted in their council flat. The company only visited once and then said they were waiting on permission from the Council, the Council did not give permission for the wet room and said company then sent back a cheque for £305.60 saying the contract has been cancelled. Do we have any legal rights to get the deposit back, the Company reside in England.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Scots Law
Expert:  JGM replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your question.
I assume the company knew, prior to any contract, that council permission was required.
A contract like that is deemed to be a conditional contract, namely, conditional on the council granting permission. As the council didn't grant permission, the contract falls. Any "small print to the contrary" would in my view be unfair on the customer and could be challenged in court.
Your parents should demand their deposit back.
I hope this helps. Please leave a positive response so that I am credited for my time.
JGM and other Scots Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Hi

I sent the letter below to the Company Director on 6th May, they have not responded. What should be my next course of action?

Thanks, Eleanor

Dear Sir

MR & MRS BURT – CONTRACT NO. 37704


***** EDINBURGH, EH14 2DW

I am writing on behalf of my in-laws Mr and Mrs Burt who ordered a wet room from your Company in May 2013, dependant on the Local Council’s approval.

At that time (13th May 2013) Mr Burt sent you a deposit cheque in the sum of £1,528.00. Subsequently there was one visit from a representative from your Company and then no further contact. Mr & Mrs Burt contacted your Company on several occasions only to be told that you were waiting on Council permission.

Over a year later nothing at all had happened and still no direct communication from yourselves, at which point Mr Burt had found out that the Council had refused permission for a wet room.

Various calls were made to try and get the deposit back, again to no avail. Eventually (on 28th January of this year) Mrs Burt received a letter enclosing a cheque in the sum of £305.60 which is a shortfall of £1,222.40, which is frankly insulting, confirming the contract had been cancelled. Again, various phone conversations took place but no more monies have been forthcoming. The cheque for £305.60 was never cashed and I attach it for your information.

I have taken legal advice on this matter and this is my solicitor’s advice:

The company knew, prior to any contract, that council permission was required.

A contract like that is deemed to be a conditional contract, namely, conditional on the council granting permission. As the council didn't grant permission, the contract falls. Any "small print to the contrary" would in my view be unfair on the customer and could be challenged in court.

Your in-laws should demand their deposit back.

We have tried to come to an agreement on many occasions resulting in the monies being refunded in full.

Mr Burt is 90 years of age and not in good health and this is having a detrimental effect on his life, and I personally cannot understand why you would not refund the £1,528.00 paid over two years ago when no work was ever undertaken and no materials were ever delivered.

I look forward to hearing from you on this subject. If I have not heard from either yourself or a Company representative within the next 21 days we will be taking this to the Small Claims Court, and I do believe we have a strong case. I hope it does not come to this, and that you and your Company do the decent thing and reimburse Mr Burt his money.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours faithfully,

ELEANOR SMITH

Enc: Cheque in the sum of £305.60.

Expert:  JGM replied 1 year ago.
Your next stage is to raise a claim in the small claim court at your local sheriff court for reimbursement of your deposit.