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Can I go to the small claims court to get my money back?


lemonhead1234
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Hi, I am a member of the management board of a small non profit community group. I paid £2k to a company who make a piece of equipment the group needed. We were told the company who make the equipment would help us to raise the money needed to complete the purchase. Two years later and with no help forthcoming I wrote and said we'd like the money back as the financial climate was not going to yeild the funding and they had made no attempt to help us. There was no paperwork as such, just emails specifying we'd pay the money over and they'd help us do this. It was not deemed as a deposit non refundable or otherwise and we didnt get the kit. I have emailed about twenty times now and had nothing back so can I go to the small claims court - breach of contract maybe? All help gratefully received. Best, Mark.

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Hello there,

 

The short answer is yes, you could use the small claims system. Any information about the intention of the parties involved would be really useful as you will need to demonstrate the money you paid was to be returned to you. The useful thing for business relationships is that the intention for such a contract to be legally binding is normally presumed - so although there wasn't a formal contract per se it wouldn't prohibit you from having a potential claim.

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It shouldn't be too difficult to prove the existence of a contract based on emails and the payment of money. It doesn't sound like it would be too difficult to show breach of contract either. I would send a letter before action, following the guidelines set out in Annex A to the pre-action protocol of the Civil Procedure Rules (you can find by the rules by googling and there are plenty of examples floating around).

 

What was the 2k for if it wasn't enough money to complete the purchase?

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Just to give you a slightly different angle - I think that it will be for the other side to prove that the money was intended as a gift.

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