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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 50725
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor
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I am a business owner and sell static caravans a customer

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Hi i am a business owner and sell static caravans a customer paid £2000 deposit for a caravan on the 9th september,,, i told her the deposit is non refundable as i had somebody else who wanted the caravan at the time, it was to go on the customers private land. she assured me she wanted the caravan whatever and would not cancel. this was all verbally agreed on my business premises
Assistant: Where are you located? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: i received a letter yesterday after numerous phone calls / texts to say she wanted to cancel and demanded her deposit back north wales
Assistant: Has anything been filed or reported?
Customer: i now have lost a sale off the other customer as they have bought elsewhere and have advertised the van for sale again
Assistant: Anything else you want the solicitor to know before I connect you?
Customer: no just a letter in her hand writing

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

Are you likely to be able to sell it any time soon for the same or similar price?

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
I don't know to be honest i always have min 30 caravans in stock
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
it sells when it sells
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
surely there is a law that protects business owners and is not always on the customers side
Customer: replied 9 months ago.

Typing my answer up for you

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
ok thanks

Generally, the law would side with consumers because they are considered the weaker side with fewer bargaining powers, but it is not always in their favour.

When a person places an order for something and pays a deposit they enter into a legally enforceable contract with the other side. It is implied that they have accepted the deposit as security and as proof that the customer wants to proceed with the contract.

Unless the provider (you) subsequently commits a serious breach of contract, such as failing to supply the goods or services, or they are the ones cancelling the contract, or there was a cancellation clause, the customer would have no legal right to cancel the agreement. If they do so they will likely be acting in breach of contract and risk losing their deposit. This is reinforced if the contract or initial agreement said that the deposit was non-refundable. Even if this was not explicitly mentioned it is entirely possible for a deposit to be retained if the contract has been cancelled when there was no right to do so.

Whilst there is nothing specific in law which would allow the customer to demand the return of their deposit, they could try and argue that you are basically profiting from them when you may not have suffered any losses. This would all depend on what happens with the caravan - if you manage to sell it at a similar price and recoup any potential losses then that would be a much stronger argument, but if you have to take a hit on it to shift it - then you could potentially keep part or all of the deposit to cover such losses.

But my recommendation is not to automatically decide to keep it, but inform her that this is done temporarily for the time being to cover any potential losses and once you know what these may be, you will reconsider the position and if she is due anything back.

I trust this has answered your query. Please take a second to leave a positive rating by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars above - this is an important part of our process and recognises the time I have spent assisting you. If you still need me to clarify anything else, please reply on here and I will assist as best as I can. Thank you

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
ok thank you that is great information

you are most welcome

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