Six weeks ago I agreed to purchase (from a UK company) a classic vehicle for restoration which is being imported from the USA.
The company has a good reputation and I based my decision to buy upon various photographs showing the areas requiring attention.
My intention was to buy the vehicle 'as is' and to have it fully restored mechanically and cosmetically.
I paid a 10% deposit to secure the vehicle and agreed in writing to pay a further 15% as soon as it had been shipped.
The 15% is due this week, as the seller has the bill of loading from the shipping company.
The receipt provided to me acknowledges the payment of the 10% deposit, states that 15% is due on departure,
with the final balance payable immediately upon arrival and customs clearance in the UK.
The only mention made of a refund is that,
if Customs do not accept the vehicle (which is 40 years old) as being of 'historical interest'
and the import duty and VAT is higher as a result, I may either accept the additional charges or be entitled to a refund of all monies paid to date.
I did not sign a sales contract but have agreed in writing (via email) to pay both the 15% at the time of shipping and the balance on arrival.
I work abroad and all of my dealings with the company have been via email. I was not in the UK when the deal was made.
My circumstances have changed and I will not be able to afford the restoration.
I have written to the seller, requesting a full refund of my 10% deposit.
However, I am not sure where I stand legally if the seller refuses.
Because I was not in the UK during the negotiations,
can I legally pursue the matter under English Law?
Would the fact that all contact with the seller was via email fall under the distance selling regulations?
Or am I technically in breach of contract, and can the seller in fact sue me for the remaining balance.
The seller has not done anything to justify me pulling out of the deal, and in fact has done everything exactly as promised so far.
I would find it difficult, though, to complete the purchase and have the restoration work carried out.
I'm really not sure where I stand if the dealer refuses to cooperate..