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Platomey

Letting Agency refuses to return overpaid holding deposit

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Hi,

 

I was going to rent a room through an agency and paid a Holding Deposit of £500.00 to secure it. However, my circumstances changed and I am no longer able to move into this room. Although I realise that this Holding Deposit is non-refundable I believe that I was misled by the lady who was dealing with me and had to pay £500.00 instead of required £300.00; this is a sentence from my Holding Deposit Receipt:

 

“Now that you saw and chose the property, the next step is sign a holding deposit receipt and leave £300.00 as prove of your interest”. The receipt also states that this is a non-refundable deposit that will not be refunded if I don’t take up the tenancy. Unfortunately I didn’t see this and paid £500.00 as requested by her.

 

I saw the agency today but they told me that they will not refund me anything. They said that it was £500 instead of £300 because there was just a week left before I was due to start my tenancy. This is not mentioned anywhere on the receipt though. They also said that basically it doesn't matter what the Receipt says as long as I was fine to pay what was requested it is all non-refundable.

 

Do you think I should be able to get £200.00 back as I was only supposed to be charged £300.00 initially? I am considering making a complaint to The Property Ombudsman.

 

Thank you in advance for your assistance.

 

Tony

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Was all this paid in cash?


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Was all this paid in cash?

 

By debit card - I have a receipt as well

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What other paperwork was issued?


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What other paperwork was issued?

 

Just the Holding Deposit Receipt that stated some Terms and Conditions regarding the holding deposit and the breakdown of what I paid (£500) and what I would need to pay on my first day (ie deposit, first month rent, etc).

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This sound wrong a deposit is paid for a tenancy once it has been agreed, references cleared etc.,

Is the agency properly registered, you can name them.


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This sound wrong a deposit is paid for a tenancy once it has been agreed, references cleared etc.,

Is the agency properly registered, you can name them.

 

This wasn't a security deposit for the property but a holding deposit to take it off the market. This is a standard practice I believe so I am fine with them keeping £300. But in my case they simply overcharged me (I was on my lunch break so was in a hurry and didn't read the receipt properly) so I am trying to return the overpaid £200. The agency is TheCityrooms.com

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emm I check them out holding deposits have been a problem.


Any Letters I Draft are N0T approved by CAG and no personal liability is accepted.

Please Consider making a donation to keep this site running!

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Did you pay by a Visa debit card?

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Did you pay by a Visa debit card?

 

Yes, does this change anything?

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Yes, Visa debit card (but not Mastercard) should allow you to make a chargeback for disputed amount.

 

Go to your issuing bank with your receipt showing holding deposit amount was £300 and amount paid was £500 and request chageback of £200. They may resist but be persuasive. You might get your money refunded to card.

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Yes, Visa debit card (but not Mastercard) should allow you to make a chargeback for disputed amount

 

I seriously doubt it will work - on what grounds am I supposed to get this money back from my bank? The bank will just tell me that I gave my consent for the the transaction with my pin number. Also, who would pay in this case? £500 has already been wired to the agent's bank account - my bank can't get £200 from the agent's bank, can it?

 

I also think that in my case my bank won't know if I did or didn't go ahead with the tenancy and therefore would be really uneasy about any chargeback

Edited by Platomey

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If you don't want to even try the charge back that Mariner suggested, then sue for the return of the £200 via SCC, you can do it online, but send agent a Letter Before Action stating you want the £200 back in 7 days or you will sue.


I am not a solicitor :!::!:

 

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then sue for the return of the £200 via SCC

 

Would you recommend suing them rather than trying to get the money back via the Property Ombudsman?

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Yes..

property ombudsman are not their for your benefit... and almost never find in favour of the customer, always the agent.

 

It will take months and months and months, and you would be no better off than now. IMHO


I am not a solicitor :!::!:

 

Most of my knowledge came from this site :-D:-D

 

If I have been helpful in any way at all .............. Please click my star..... :-(:-(

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If any one moves into the property in the meantime for the time for which you paid, you have the agent over a barrel as they cannot benefit or benefit financially.

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sue for the return of the £200 via SCC,

 

Also, the problem with this route is that I will potentially be liable for their legal costs if the court rules in their favour (I maybe wrong here but it sounds logical) plus whatever I will need to pay to the court. However, if I do it through the Ombudsman I will not have to pay anything at all. So perhaps it makes sense to do this first through the Ombudsman and then going to SCC if unsuccessful?

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Platomey, others have commented on Property Omdusman route, there is no charge for trying the cashback route. if approved the receiving bank debits the other parties account and returns it to your bank. You are claiming for overcharging.

As for Small Claims path. legal expenses are not normally awarded, the claimant pays the upfront Court fees. if he loses he bears the cost, if he wins they are added to the award, the only other expense that can be claimed is ~£100 for travel on day + lost pay for atttending hearing.

I suggest you Google 'How to make a claim via SCC'.

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there is no charge for trying the cashback route.

 

I actually spoke to my bank today and they told me that getting money back when using Visa Debit is extremely difficult and is unlikely to work (unless it's a fraud). If I had used Visa Credit card then it would have been much easier. So lesson for the next time.SCC sounds appealing actually - I may try it. Problem with the Ombudsman (as you stated) is that it will take at least 3 months according to their rules so a very lengthy process indeed!

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"If your card provider rejects your chargeback claim, you can take your case to the Financial Ombudsman Service within six months of your final correspondence."

 

Advice from MSE is to speak to supervisor.

Chargeback is not a Stat requirement like s75 claims, but is included in Visa & Mastercard T&Cs

Overpayment is a valid reason for Chargeback

Banks do not make using Chargeback easy, so go back & try again.

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