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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
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I went to buy a car, had a test drive and decided to

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I went to buy a car, had a test drive and decided to purchase it. I paid a deposit of £ 950 for which I have a receipt that states the following: Number plate: LM64XDD Renault Clio
Balance Due £ 7000.= 1 week later the dealer informed me that they could not deliver the car in question as the owner had decided to renege on the sale. (Apparently htey were selling it on his behalf. The Garage offered to look for an identical replacement. And I agreed. Today I sent them an email telling that I had changed my mind and that I would have the deposit back. They just phoned me and said they had gone and bought another car for me and that they now want the balance paid. I do not accept the car they found. How do I get my deposit returned?

Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and I will be assisting you with your question today.

Have you had the opportunity to view this new vehicle?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The receipt is dated 23/9/2016 and is on their letterhead. I have no details other than that it is a different Renault Clio. I have not seen the replacement they allegedly bought.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
They offered to bring it round to my house to view (150 mile round trip) I told them not to.

OK, thank you for your response. I will review the relevant information and laws and will get back to you at the earliest opportunity. There is no need to wait here as you will receive an email when I have responded. Also, please do not responded to this message as it will just push your question to the back of the queue and you may experience unnecessary delays. Thank you.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
OK I'll wait

Many thanks. I will get back to you at the earliest opportunity.

Many thanks for your patience. Generally, when a person places an order for something and pays a deposit they enter into a legally enforceable contract with the seller. It is implied that the seller has accepted the deposit as security and as proof that the buyer wants to proceed with the contract.

Unless the seller subsequently commits a serious breach of contract, or there was a cancellation clause, the buyer 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. This is especially true if the deposit was described as non-refundable.

If this was a business seller, 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 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.

Please take a second to leave a positive rating for the service so far by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars. I can continue answering follow up questions and in particular can also discuss the steps you need to follow should you have to pursue this formally down the legal route. Don’t worry, there is no extra cost and leaving a rating will not close the question and we can still continue this discussion. Thank you

Hello, I see you have read my response to your query. Please let me know if this has answered your original question and if you need me to discuss the next steps in more detail? In the meantime please take a second to leave a positive rating by selecting 3, 4 or 5 starts from the top of the page. The question will not close and I can continue with my advice as discussed. Thank you

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks for your reply, which is helpful. However, I believe there is another side to this. I left the deposit on a very specific car. The one with number plate LM64XDD. The new one offered is a different car, different number plate, different colour, different mileage + I haven't seen it and I haven't test driven it. I believe that for the same reason that they withdrew the car from the sale, I have equal right to withdraw from the purchase. Having put a deposit down on a specific item, does not mean I am still in a position where I can be forced to buy an alternative item, even though it looks similar?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
In fact, I decided to withdraw from a purchase of which I was never going to receive the goods. Surely consumer law has something to say about that?

The law would allow them to provide a suitable replacement if needed, as long as you did not request the specific car for a very specific purpose, which in the circumstances it does not appear to be the case. However, the case still remains that the deposit should be returned even if you decided not to go ahead, unless they suffered losses as a result which does not really appear to be the case. Hope this clarifies?

Ben Jones and 3 other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
it does. Thank you.

You are most welcome