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Refund for a deposit of a motorhome

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Loans
8 replies 1.6K views
3 posts
edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Loans
Apologies for the random location of my thread, I couldn't find a suitable category for this subject. Please feel free to move it if at all possible.

I was hoping for some advice.

My parents are selling their home and originally planned to by an RV to live in. At the time they believed it was all they could afford after selling their home and settling their remaining debts.
They found an RV they loved and explained to the seller their situation, which was that they had sold the home (stc) and aren't sure how long before the contracts are exchanged and everything is finalised. The seller had agreed to hold the vehicle for 6 weeks with a deposit of £5000 (non refundable) then after they would release the vehicle back on the market. The RV is up for £55,000.
My parents circumstances have changed. The sale is still going through but it has taken a lot longer than expected. My parents money has completely run out and they are now borrowing from me.
They have found a property in Scotland for £70,000 which they are planning to buy once the sale of their home has finalised.
They haven't signed a contract, just an invoice.

So my question is, is there any hope of getting back some of the deposit?

Thank you for taking the time to read this.


  • LALLEN88LALLEN88 Forumite
    3 posts
    I thought I should make it clearer that the sale of their home is still going through (not the RV). They no longer require the RV.
  • Nebulous2Nebulous2 Forumite
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    Who were they buying the motorhome from? A private seller or a garage/dealer?

    I think they are going to be struggling to get anything back if they agreed to a non-refundable deposit. They need proper advice and may need to be prepared to go to court.
  • zx81zx81 Forumite
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    Unlikely, but the seller has a duty to mitigate their losses, which the deposit is to cover.
  • LALLEN88LALLEN88 Forumite
    3 posts
    Thank you both for your replies.

    It's from a dealership.

    They hadn't signed a contract and there is no mention of their terms on the invoice. I just feel that £5000 is a lot of money to hold for an RV. I only need to pay £500 to hold a house.

    I thought maybe a cancellation fee to cover administration costs is fair.
  • iolanthe07iolanthe07 Forumite
    5.5K posts
    Look at it from the seller's point of view. They have kept the vehicle off the market for six weeks in good faith, just at the time of year when a motorhome might be expected to fetch a high price. Now they have got to start all over again because of what they will see as a 'timewaster' (even if that's not really fair). I think they are entitled to keep the deposit, especially as it is supposed to be 'non-refundable.'
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  • Kentish_DaveKentish_Dave
    842 posts
    You can ask, and politely explain that their circumstances have changed. Apologise, and ask if there is any way that they can keep some or all of the deposit as it is going to make a big difference to their life given their limited resources.

    It’s possible that the seller has missed the main selling season for RVs, and is likely to have to drop the price and / or have a long wait for a buyer, which might explain the large deposit.
  • edited 23 June 2019 at 5:44PM
    BobQBobQ Forumite
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    edited 23 June 2019 at 5:44PM
    You say there is no contact but there is, a verbal one that promised to buy the RV and a consideration (the deposit) which is not stated as being refundable.

    In law there is no such thing as a non-refundable deposit. The deposit is a partial payment of the total purchase price. A supplier often claims or writes in a contract that a deposit is not refundable but this is an unfair term. That said, your parents are in breach of the verbal contract by refusing to complete it.

    This means the dealer is entitled to reasonable payment for the costs caused by the breach. They will probably say that the £5K is reasonable but if their costs are more they could claim the actual costs. Equally if it were legally challenges they would have to show that £5K is fair compensation.

    The asset is depreciating with age, more difficult to sell later in the season. The dealer needs to store, maintain and then find another buyer. It would not be difficult to imagine that they could not sell it for £55K and that the other costs would be a factor.

    But let us say a fair price is £3K, is it worth taking legal action that would cost more than the difference in the hope of winning.
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  • benbay001benbay001 Forumite
    212 posts
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    Its less than 10% of the value of the RV, for the dealer to hold it through the prime RV selling season (end of spring/ start of summer) The dealer may well have missed out on selling it to someone else because your parents said they would have it.

    Whats the point in a deposit of you can change your mind and get it back?
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