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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 77874
Experience:  Qualified Solicitor
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Briefly: Paid for a sofa from shop in UK nearly a year ago -

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Briefly: Paid for a sofa from shop in UK nearly a year ago - around £4,000. House in France. Sofa has never been delivered - not totally their fault, due to Brexit difficulties. Custom order so they wont refund. Can we claim our money back if the product is never delivered? If so, how do we define 'never'?
JA: Have they talked to a lawyer about this? What country do they live in? If different, what country does this legal question relate to?
Customer: They are a UK sofa company. I don't know if they've talked to a lawyer. This is a UK question as we are English, they are English, only the delivery was to an EU country.
JA: What steps have they taken so far?
Customer: They have tried to deliver, which resulted in it coming to France but then being sent back due to some paperwork issues that I don't understand. They are now trying again, but have not committed to refunding our money if it doesn't work this time. We just want an assurance.
JA: Is there anything else the Lawyer should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: We have all the emails of the conversation. They said, at the outset, that this would be an experiment as they haven't done it before.
Hello, I’m Ben, a solicitor, and it’s my pleasure to assist you. I may ask for some preliminary information to help me determine the legal position.

I understand you have paid for a custom sofa that has not yet been delivered and you are now wanting to claim your money back. When should the sofa have been delivered please?

Customer: replied 16 days ago.
That's hard to say, but we ordered it in July last year, so definitely by now.
Customer: replied 16 days ago.
I prefer chat, if that's okay.
Customer: replied 16 days ago.
Hello Ben, by the way. I'm Phil.

No problem at all. Phone calls are an additional service, which is entirely optional. I am still here to deal with your original query in writing over this chat.

Customer: replied 16 days ago.

Hi there Phil. So do you have an agreement which might detail an estimated delivery date at all?

Customer: replied 16 days ago.
I'll have a look at the original order.

Thank you

Customer: replied 16 days ago.
Heres something they sent on 3rd September
Dear Phil Benjamin,
I am pleased to inform you that your order #100013377 is now made or available and "ready to ship". This means your order will ship soon but may take a few days to up to 2 weeks to ship. Once you receive the next update which is "shipping" your order will be with you in approximately will be 5-6 weeks to arrive in your home. We will keep you informed by sending an an update when shipping and through to delivery. If you have any questions about your order please login to your account or contact us at***@******.*** or call us on 0845(###) ###-####.

OK so did they actually ship it then?

Customer: replied 16 days ago.
As mentioned, they sent it once, but due to an issue I don't understand, but related to Brexit rule changes, it ended up being sent back again.
Customer: replied 16 days ago.
To be clear: It reached France, but didn't get through customs before being sent back to the UK.
Customer: replied 16 days ago.
Are you still there?

OK I understand and thank you for providing this information. Please do not worry and leave it with me for now. I will get back to you with my full reply on here; usually the same day. The system will notify you when this happens. Many thanks.

Customer: replied 16 days ago.
Thank you very much. I look forward to hearing from you. If you need further information, let me know.

No problem at all. I will get back to you at the earliest opportunity. Many thanks

Many thanks for your patience, it is appreciated. I am now pleased to be able to provide further assistance with your query. First of all, I am sorry to hear about the issues brought up by this. It must be a frustrating situation to be going through.

If they do not deliver the sofa as promised then they will be acting in breach of contract and you will indeed be entitled to your money back. I see you asked what could be classified as ‘never’ and you can’t just wait indefinitely to ensure that they do not deliver it and the law simply places a requirement for delivery to happen either as promised, or within a reasonable period of time.

So if the delays are becoming unreasonable and there is clearly no likelihood of it being delivered any time soon, then you can still rely on that to cancel the order, even if it was bespoke.

Just because it was made to order does not give the seller the right to take as long as they want and not have the obligation to refund you. In the end, an unreasonable delay can still amount to a breach of contract and allow you to cancel.

The issue then is what is unreasonable and when does that apply. Sadly there is no answer to that as each situation will depend on its own facts. For example, some of the delays may have been reasonable and understandable but if they are not taking active steps to overcome these and the delays are now within their control, that is when you can argue that it has become unreasonable and you can cancel for a refund.

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.

Customer: replied 16 days ago.
That is really useful information thank you. Clearly, they have been attempting to send it, and are attempting again, so we cannot claim that they haven't tried. So we can only use the 'reasonable time' period argument. I will keep track of this and contact you if we need further advice. Thank you. Phil

You are most welcome. If you have any further questions about this, please do not hesitate to get back to me and I will be happy to help. All the best.

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