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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 49816
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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My daughter has paid a 25% deposit on the 15th December 2014

Customer Question

My daughter has paid a 25% deposit on the 15th December 2014 to secure a Marquee wedding date in July of this year. She and her fiance traveled to East Sussex from Hereford(a 9 hour round trip), on the understanding that she would view a Marquee(17th January 2015). There was no Marquee to inspect. She now feels uncomfortable to proceed any further and has asked them to refund the monies. They have declined. Doe she have any rights?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 3 years ago.
Ben Jones :

, my name is ***** ***** it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. Was there a cancellation clause? Also why was no marquee available ?

JACUSTOMER-9b714hzy- :

In the booking procedures and payment terms it states that a 50% deposit indicates acceptance of their terms and conditions. She has paid 25%. We also requested to pay by credit card as an extra protection . They declined stating they didn't accept credit cards. The total amount to be paid would be £9145.20

JACUSTOMER-9b714hzy- :

They stated the weather producing the marquee, however they did not inform them prior to them setting off. They have offered April as a date to view the marquee.

Ben Jones :

Generally, when a person places an order and pays a deposit they enter into a legally enforceable contract with the seller. It is implied that one side has accepted the deposit as security and as proof that the other side wants to proceed with the contract.

Unless there is a cancellation clause allowing early termination and no loss of deposit, or the other party has committed a serious breach of contract, the party that paid the deposit 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.

In this case I cannot see a serious enough breach to warrant the whole contract becoming void, especially if alternative arrangements have been made viewing. You could perhaps claim wasted trip but not cancel the whole agreement.

Saying that, if you still wanted to go ahead and cancel then as a business, they will be subject to certain consumer rules and regulations. , 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, 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.

Hope this clarifies your position? If you could please let me know that would be great, thank you

Ben Jones :

do you still need any further assistance? Have not heard back from you since responding above

Ben Jones :

, I see you have accessed and read my answer to your query. Please let me know if this has answered your original question or if you need me to clarify anything else in relation to this? I just need to know whether to close the question or not? Thanks