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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 73529
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor
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Could you help me. I have put a deposit for the amount of

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Hi could you help me. I have put a deposit for the amount of £2000 on a boat by a private sale. The receipt says non-refundable. Could I get my money back?
JA: Where is this? And how old is the boat?
Customer: The place is in Tipton and the narrow canal boat is about 30 years old.
JA: What steps have you taken so far?
Customer: I have accepted the full price of £18,750.
JA: Is there anything else the Lawyer should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: I have put down a £2000 deposit. I have changed my mind on buying this boat.

Hello, I’m Ben. It’s my pleasure to assist you today. I may also ask for some preliminary information to help me determine the legal position.

Will they suffer any losses as a result? Please note this is not always an instant service and I may not be able to reply immediately. However, rest assured that I am dealing with your question and will get back to you today. Thanks

Ben Jones and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 14 days ago.
Hi Ben.thankyou. the seller is not suffering any losses. I have an email saying non-refundable. I haven't signed anything at all.thanks demi

Many thanks for your patience, I am pleased to be able to continue assisting with your query now. First of all, I am sorry to hear about the issues you have experienced in your situation.

Just because the seller says the deposit is non-refundable, does not mean they can keep it no matter what. There is still an expectation that they would act in a fair and reasonable manner and not make a profit out of you nor nothing. If they have suffered losses as a result of your change of mind, such as relisting fees, unable to achieve the same sale amount, etc then they can potentially use the deposit to offset against these. However, if they cannot identify any actual losses then the unused amount should be returned to you.

If they refuse to do so you can consider whether to pursue them in the Small Claims Court to try and recover it.

If money is owed by one party to another, the debtor can potentially be taken to court to try and force them to pay up. However, as legal action should only be used as a last resort, there are certain steps that should be taken initially to try and resolve this matter informally and without the need to involve the courts. It is therefore recommended that the following steps are taken in order to try and resolve this:

1. Reminder letter – if no informal reminders have been sent yet, one should be sent first to allow the other party to voluntarily settle this matter.

2. Letter before action – if informal reminders have been sent but have been ignored, the other party must be sent a formal ‘letter before action’ asking them to resolve this amicably within a specified period of time – 14 days is reasonable. They should be advised that if they fail to make contact to resolve this matter, formal legal proceedings will be commenced to pursue them for the money that is owed. This letter serves as a ‘final warning’ and gives the other side the opportunity to resolve this without the need for legal action. There are numerous templates available online for such letters and a simple search will bring up a list of useful results.

3. If the letter before action is also ignored, formal legal proceedings can be initiated. A claim can be commenced online by going to  There will be a fee payable, which depends on the amount that is claimed. The debtor will eventually get a copy of the claim and they will have a limited time to answer it. They could accept it and pay what is owed, they could accept it only in part and defend the rest, or they could outright reject it. They could also completely ignore it, in which case judgment will eventually be entered automatically against them. Also, it is worth noting that the simple act of submitting a claim could show the debtor that this is being taken seriously and prompt them to consider negotiating a potential solution to stop the claim progressing further, such as offering full or partial repayment.

Hopefully, I have answered your query in a way that is simple and easy to understand. If anything remains unclear, I will be more than happy to clarify it for you. In the meantime, thank you once again for using our services.