By Dean Dunham 20 March 2022
If you’ve tried to order a new car recently you will have no doubt been told of a long wait time for delivery. This is because the whole manufacturing process has slowed greatly, caused by a Worldwide shortage of certain components and even now partly affected by the situation in Ukraine. The problem is not just unique to cars, but manufacturers of boats, caravans, electrical, and various other goods have also been impacted.
This has given rise to a flurry of new complaints in my inbox, from consumers who paid a deposit for goods that are now not going to be delivered when they were promised.
Gavin in Northampton ordered a new mini in October 2021. He paid a £500 deposit and was told it would be delivered in March 2022. He has now been told delivery will not be until at least June. Upon hearing the news Gavin cancelled his order and asked for his deposit back. In response, the garage told him the deposit was ‘non-refundable’.
Daryl in Bournemouth ordered a new motor boat with an outboard engine in June 2021 and was told it would be delivered by April. This week he was told the boat has arrived but without the engine, which would arrive “later in the year”. The marina then told him that he cannot cancel the order as the boat has arrived.
I’ve received lots of other messages just like these. Ordinarily I tell people that you cannot get a non-refundable deposit back but these circumstances are clearly potentially different. Gavin tells me he was told his new mini would definitely be here by March and this enticed him to pay the deposit. The March delivery date therefore formed part of the contract so when the date was missed it became a breach of contract. He is therefore entitled to his deposit back. The position is the same for Daryl and no it doesn’t make any difference that the boat has arrived, as until the engine is also here his order is not complete.
If you place an order for goods that need to be ordered from the manufacturer make sure you get a firm delivery date in writing. This will protect your deposit and give you the right to a refund if the delivery date is breached.