How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Alex J. Your Own Question
Alex J.
Alex J., Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 3935
Experience:  Solicitors 2 years plus PQE
13113900
Type Your Law Question Here...
Alex J. is online now

This matter concerns a contract to supply specialised

Customer Question

This matter concerns a contract to supply specialised computer equipment and a breach theerof.On the 7th December 2017 I placed an order with a company for ten Antminer S9 Bitcoin mining machines [the miners] together with hosting services for one month in advance and set up costs. The total purchase price being £18,799.58 made up of £16,400 for the miners and £2,399.58 for the set up and advance hosting cost. It was agreed that the delivery of the miners was to be in January/ February. As the company had to order the miners from the Far East manufacturer they required full payment to be made in advance. On the same day I paid the company the £18,799.58 by bank transfer.On the 19th December the company informed me by email that the manufacturer had announced the February batch of miners were available in stock but the price had almost doubled; there being no January availability from the manufacturer. On the same day the company sent me an invoice for a further amount to be paid of £6,600. After some discussion I agreed to pay the additional amount subject to the express condition that the order would be placed by the company immediately with the manufacturer. The Company also stipulated that they would not proceed to place the order until they had received payment of the balance from me. Both these conditions were printed on the company’s amended invoice as per ”on receipt of payment, the items will be ordered immediately with no further price changes and the order thereafter will be confirmed in writing”The following day the 20th December the company sent me an email stating that the manufacturer was unable to supply the February batch of miners and as such they had failed to place the order, in my mind a clear breach of the conditions of the amended order contract. In any event I had not yet paid the company the additional £6,600. Due to the company’s failure to secure the order and supply the items I considered that at this point the contract was frustrated, nullified and dead in the water. However the company still held on to my £18,799.58. The matter was then put on hold over the imminent Christmas and New Year holiday. On the 5th January I wrote to the company stating:-“I think we need to start all over from square one”On the 5th January I noticed from the manufacturers website that the manufacturer had reduced the price of their March batch of miners back to the expected January price when I had first placed the original order on 7th December and I advised the company accordingly by email. The company responded with an acknowledgement that they were aware of the manufacturers updated pricing. As it was quite clear the company could not perform by the original manufacturer the company then put forward various other options to me for the possible supply of miners from alternative manufacturers including a new suggestion by email/s on the 9th January that the I consider purchasing a completely different product from a different manufacturer in China; a suggestion I was very interested to investigate and follow up even advising the company on the 16th January that this alternative manufacturer had stock availability.On the 17th January almost a month after the breached December 19th amended order contract the company sent me an email confirming that they had secured an order with the original manufacturer from the March production of miners and had already paid them. I was very surprised and responded with a congratulatory email believing that the company had finally honoured the original agreement at the original purchase price. On the 22nd February I was shocked when the company sent me a demand for payment of the £6,600 which I have vehemently disputed as the company had been unable to perform its obligations either under the terms of the original contract and/ or under the varied terms agreed on the 19th December. Furthermore the company on its own volition and without reference to the Claimant had proceeded to place the order a month after it had agreed to, without further payment being received from me and without additional discussion, agreement with or prior confirmation from me. In fact the company had gone ahead and placed the order while they were at the very same time negotiating a completely different product with me from an alternative manufacturer.
As it stands the company still has my £18,799.58 and is refusing to refund me claiming that I owe them £6,600. They also inform me that they have now received the miners that they ordered and the company is continuing to invoice me for monthly electricity charges and hosting costs despite the miners remaining in their packing boxes.Can you advise what my contractual position is in law?
Submitted: 6 months ago.
Category: Law
Customer: replied 6 months ago.
As it stands the company still has my £18,799.58 and is refusing to refund me claiming that I owe them £6,600. They also inform me that they have now received the miners that they ordered and the company is continuing to invoice me for monthly electricity charges and hosting costs despite the miners remaining in their packing boxes.Can you advise what my contractual position is in law?
Expert:  Alex J. replied 6 months ago.

Thank you for your question and welcome. My name is ***** ***** I will assist you. Where is the seller based? Did you sign any terms and conditions with them? Did you pay by credit card? Did you receive a purchase order or receipt?

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
seller is Isle of Man UK
I paid by bank transfer
I didn't sign any terms & conditions or a contract
I received an invoice marked paid (there were no terms & conditions printed on it)
Expert:  Alex J. replied 6 months ago.

Thank you. It was never identified as a deposit or pre payment- it was for goods on delivery? Is the seller a limited company?

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
goods for delivery yes .. seller is limited co yes. I attached the invoices here when i asked the question. again attached.
Expert:  Alex J. replied 6 months ago.

Thank you. I have just stepped away from my computer - I will review these and respond later tonight with my answer. Please do not be concerned if you do not hear from me right away. Kind regards AJ

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
any progress?
thanks
Expert:  Alex J. replied 6 months ago.

Thank you. My apologies for the delay. The receipt is definitely an order for goods not a deposit. I would say this really is just straight forward money claim- they are in breach of contract and you should sue them for the return of the monies paid for goods you have not received. At this stage - if you pay the extra money, do they agree to deliver any goods? Kind regards AJ

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
I have lost confidence in the company and especially as they sacked the sales manger I was dealing with. Apparently he was offering similar machines on eBay that he didn't have and was taking advance payment against pre-orders. My amended agreement to pay the additional £6,600 was expressly on the basis they ordered the items immediately and not waiting another month before they decided to place the order .. besides I hadn't paid them the additional amount when they informed me they couldn't deliver. I therefore don't wish to send them any more money and don't want the goods. They claim I have to pay the extra £6,600 and then they will release the goods. I simply want my money returned. Am I right?
Expert:  Alex J. replied 6 months ago.

Thank you. Yes you would be entitled to the return of the money - it is fundamentally a breach of contract- the problem you have is if they refuse, you will have to sue them. Have you sourced the goods from else where in the mean time?

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
I can source the goods elsewhere but need my money back to do so. If I sue them do they have any defence?
Expert:  Alex J. replied 6 months ago.

Thank you. Anyone that is sued has the right to defend themselves - their only defence might be that you agreed to the delivery of the goods. Your counter to this would be that it was done under a degree of duress. Alternative if you could pay the the £6,600 - say it is a payment under protest, when they release the machines, sue them to recover the £6,600. I assume you still need the machines? Kind regards AJ