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VIC Do I Have to Refund Deposit for Caravan?

Discussion in 'Australian Consumer Law Forum' started by Jess36, 28 September 2016.

  1. Jess36

    Jess36 Member

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    I had a buyer commit to purchase our on-site caravan. He paid a $500 deposit and pulled out a couple of days later and now wants his deposit back. He claims the van is not as safe as I made out (it sits in front of a sea wall) and I misrepresented the facts (mainly the possibility of storm surges and its impact on the van) of which I explained everything to the best of my knowledge.

    He also claims I need to provide a receipt (which I did but he failed to collect). He is threatening magistrates, lawyers and even a local newspaper be involved.

    Do I need to return the money under Australian Consumer Law? We had a verbal agreement and he pulled due to a change of mind as far as I'm concerned!
     
  2. BrandonW

    BrandonW Member

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    Hi Jess36,

    I may be incorrect here but unless there is a written and signed agreement stating a non-refundable deposit you can't keep someone's money for whatever reason.

    Even then there are limits to how much a non refundable deposit can be and often can only cover your costs of perhaps relisting an item for sale.

    At the end of the day that's a lot of money to lose on something because of a change of mind and refunding is probably the right thing to do.

    Regards
     
  3. Jess36

    Jess36 Member

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    Thank you Brandon,

    I offered for him to wait a few days to commit and he refused. Stated he wanted to buy it there and then so we proceeded.

    I wrote up a receipt confirming his deposit and commitment to purchase, but he didn't pick it up. We incurred some additional costs and I would have been happy to negotiate some return but he's pushing for a full refund because of my dishonesty. But I haven't been dishonest, he just changed his mind. His aggression and excuses for a return is the main reason I haven't returned thus far.

    I can't find any information in regards to private sales as to conditions for returning a deposit which is why I'm confused. Lots on business consumer laws but not private sales?

    Kind regards,
     
  4. Rod

    Rod Well-Known Member

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    Deposit can likely be kept if it is <=10% of the sale price.

    Private sale > Contract has been created > purchaser breaches contract > deposit less than or equal to 10% of purchase price > seller gets to keep deposit, unless seller said deposit is refundable.

    However by agreement the seller can agree to return the full deposit or part of the deposit.

    If you have not incurred any losses, returning the deposit is the correct ethical response, however ......

    Being stuffed around by an unreasonable purchaser and being threatened means I would feel less inclined to help someone who was being reasonable, unless I felt the threats were genuine, in which case returning the $500 might be the better course of action.
     

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