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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71042
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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Hi. I recently agreed (over the telephone) to buy a collect-only

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Hi. I recently agreed (over the telephone) to buy a collect-only item for £4995, which was the full advertised price. The vendor accepted my proposal to buy and I asked how he would like to be paid - cash, cheque or bank transfer....he preferred cash he said. I stated that I couldn't collect the item for two weeks and offered to send a cheque in the interim to show good faith but he insisted that it wouldn't be necessary and that he would hold on to the item for me until I was ready to collect, cash in hand. He said if anyone else came along he would say that the item was sold but would take their details just in case I defaulted. I considered that we had a verbal contract and the last thing I said to him was 'Consider it SOLD!' Only two or three days later he telephoned me to say that someone else had approached him that he knew and he had sold the item to them. As a man of my word I was disgusted with this and told him so and how disappointed I was. I knew that a true bargain had just slipped through my fingers because the vendor did not hold to his side of the contract. What recourse of action do I have and is it a winnable case? Can he get the item back from the person who now has it? Many thanks, XXXXX XXXXX Cater

You are right to the extent that this was a binding contract and he was in breach by selling to another.

However, this has caused you no loss and so there is nothing to claim for I'm afraid.

You cannot claim specific performance of the contract unless the item was literally unique which is rare.]

You could try to claim the cost difference of having to buy it elsewhere but its always an arguable point. If this is something like a vehicle then its very difficult to compare two vehicles as they are never really like for like.

I'm sorry this isn't the answer you wanted but it is the position that you face and I have a duty to inform you truthfully.

Hope this helps. Please remember to rate my service either OK SERVICE or above and then I will give you related information for free.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Hi again. In my case the item advertised for sale was a microlight aircraft, which was advertised at a truly bargain price because the vendor needed the money (to buy a different aircraft if fact). Although not as unique as a work of fine art for example, could it not be argued that the 'book' price for this type of microlight (particularly since it came with a custom-built
trailer and many accessories) was unquestionably higher than his asking price, which I agreed to without haggling.......? I've therefore missed out financially because to buy another microlight + trailer of this type (not that I'm likely to find one in the near future) would cost a great deal more. I'm truly disgusted that this man didn't keep his word!

As I've said really, its not unique so you can't claim specific performance.

It is possible to try to claim the price difference but with anything mechanical its always possible to argue that the two items cannot be compared.
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Customer: replied 5 years ago.


In relation to this issue, would it be helpful to me to get a Solicitor's letter formulated and delivered advising this vendor that he was in breach of a binding verbal contract and unless the agreement was honoured litigation may result?


Many thanks,


Brian Cater.

What are you going to sue for ? Whats the loss?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

I want to put pressure on the vendor to honour the contract..... ie. retrieve the item from the person who now has it and sell it to me, as agreed.

If there is no loss then there is nothing for which you can claim.

You can send a solicitors letter but you would lose in court.