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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 50907
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor
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We ordered a conservatory 8 years ago but had financial

difficulties so had to cancel... Show More
difficulties so had to cancel order but the company will not refund deposit paid of £900 or just let us have goods to the value eg French doors. Although it states in the original contract a deposit is only refundable if planning permission is refused we did not foresee our financial problems.
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Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and I will be assisting you with your question today.

So when did you pay the deposit exactly? Also, did you place the order online or was it in person?

Customer reply replied 3 months ago.
The year 2000 but exact date I will have to find out. Placed the order over the phone

OK, thank you for your response. Leave it with me for now and I will review the relevant information and laws and 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 respond 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 reply replied 3 months ago.
No

Generally, 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 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, it is still worth using some tricks in the book to try and twist the other side’s arm. For example, if initial negotiations have failed, the customer can consider threatening formal legal action if the deposit is not returned. Sometimes exerting some formal pressure like that can have the desired effect. If they still refuse then the only way to challenge this would be by making a claim in court (usually the Small Claims Court) but that could be somewhat risky without the specific legal right to reclaim the deposit.

Another option is to inform them that they would be expected to mitigate their losses by trying to find a replacement customer following your cancellation. So if they are able to get someone else to replace you and the amount you would have paid then that would mean the deposit may no longer be required (or at least part of it) and that the difference should be returned.

The issue now is that you are out of time to take this any further as any claim in the court must have been submitted within 6 years and you have now gone over that, so you will be fully reliant on the company agreeing to refund you, you cannot force them to do so.