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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
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We sold our sofa to our ex landlords for £300. Their offer

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We sold our sofa to our ex landlords for £300. Their offer and our acceptance is documented in an email. It was agreed, again in an email, that we would leave the sofas in the house, when we left. I collected a cheque for the amount from them on the day of check out having left the sofas as agreed behind. Post check out we have fallen out over an unrelated matter - dispute over redecoration costs - and they then sent us an email informing us they no longer wanted the sofas, they had stopped the cheque and wanted us to collect them. Can they do this? We don't want the sofas back - we had a deal - it is all documented. Surely this fraud to stop the cheque?
Hello, my name is***** am a solicitor on this site and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. Have you tried resolving this with them in any way or to seek an alternative resolution?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
No - as we want to see what the legal position is. We don't want the sofa back - we sold it to them in good faith
You would have entered into a legally binding contract with the landlords. You would have agreed to leave the sofa and they would have agreed to pay for it. It is not fraud to stop the cheque though and this is a civil matter, not a criminal one. It simply means they have acted in breach of contract, not that they have committed fraud.
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. 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 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.
I trust this has answered your query. I would be grateful if you could please take a second to leave a positive rating (selecting 3, 4 or 5 starts at the top of the page). If for any reason you are unhappy with my response or if you need me to clarify anything before you go - please get back to me on here and I will assist further as best as I can. Thank you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Just to be crystal clear on this - you are saying that even though they are offering us our sofas back (we do not see this as a resolution to the issue) we can pursue them for breach of contract as they cannot simply change their mind
yes, correct - they may be offering the sofa back but you do not have to accept it. The original deal was that you sell the sofa and they pay you for it and you can hold them to that, making it clear that their failure to proceed with this original agreement amounts to a breach of contract
Ben Jones and 2 other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thank you - this is helpful and we will follow the steps outlined.

You are most welcome and best of luck.