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selling a car when substantial deposit was paid

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can anyone offer advice please. I have been selling a car on behalf of my Father as he is in Somerset and we are in Surrey so he felt we would have more of a captive audience. The car sold around the middle of June however the buyers only had just under half of the money so paid a deposit of £2,500 with the balance of £2,600 to be paid at the end of the month as they were waiting for a house sale to go through.


Unfortunately their house sale has fallen through and my Father wants the car readvertised so that if they come up with the balance in the meantime all well and good but if someone else wants to buy it first then to sell it to the new buyer and refund the deposit to the original buyer. I have explained this to the original buyer but they are saying that as there was never anything put in writing that the car MUST be paid for by the end of the month then their deposit has secured the vehicle until they are able to pay for it. I feel really sorry for them as having a house sale fall through at the final hurdle is of course very stressfull but equally I don't see why my Father should suffer for it either.


Please can anyone advise how this stands from a legal viewpoint, as no date to complete the sale was put in place is the deposit open ended or can we sell the vehicle and refund the deposit straight away?

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If there was nothing in writing then you are entitled to expect payment for the car and completion of the deal within a reasonable time.


I suggest that you put it all in writing - including the details of the verbal agreement between you.


The give them a further 14 days to compete the sale or else you will consider yourself discharged from any agreement.


The desposit is messy. If I were you I would return it to them so that in 14 days you can feel completely unencumbered and go ahead with selling the car elsewhere.


There is no point in hanging on to the deposit. You can't do anything with it - and it really just gets in your way and reduces your flexibility to act.


Send the letter now recorded delivery with the cheque included.

Keep copies of everything including the cheque

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