We've dropped out of a contract to buy as we're expecting a child - can we get our deposit back?

On 14 August 2011, my partner contacted a mainland dealer regarding a vehicle he had seen on the internet which he wanted to view. As we live in Jersey, we were told that a 10 per cent deposit would take the vehicle from the forecourt until we could arrange flights to come and view it. A payment of £1500 was therefore made over the telephone. The following day we found out that we were expecting a child and decided that, given this added expense, we were no longer in a position to proceed with the purchase, and rang the dealer to explain our situation. To cut a long story short, the dealer is refusing to return the £1500. I have spoken to the manager by phone, and he was to look into my claim and return my call. I am still waiting 4 months later. I have already sought advice from a solicitor friend, Citizens Advice and Trading Standards and have so far proceeded as advised by these intermediaries. What do you think I should do?

Asked on 28 April 2012 by LC, St. Brelade, Jersey

Answered by Honest John
Unfortunately you entered a contract to buy the car and paid part of the price of it as deposit. The garage is legally entitled to keep the £1500 and to force you to buy the car. The only way out I can see is for you to now demand to pay the rest for the car and to have the car. If the garage cannot now supply it (because the car has been sold), then the garage would be in breach of contract and would have to return your deposit. Your solicitor friend should be able to handle this for you.
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