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Selling a boat, buyer reneged and wants his deposit back


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Put a boat up for sale, person said he wanted it and sent a deposit straight away.  We took the ad down, now he doesnt want it and wants his deposit back.  We didn't sign any formal contract or anything as it was done via Facebook.

 

Does anyone know if he has any legal recourse to force us to give the deposit back?   My understanding was a deposit is non refundable. 

 

Any solicitors on here?  :) This is in qld.

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Normally on anything you buy if you lay a deposit down and decide not to go ahead with the purchase you lose it.

  It's up to you if you want to give it back but you don't have too.The only thing is they may do something to your property/cars etc if they know where you live.

I never sell anything from home as you never know who the buyer really is.

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When you say it was done via FB I presume it was FB market place. If so there would be site rules governing buyer and seller obligations that you and the buyer agreed to by default by using the service. 
Your best recourse is to talk to FB seller support. 

BTW, I am not on FB, but have experience on eBay and other sales sites. Most of them have similar rules and regulations. 
 

cheers Zoran 

 

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9 minutes ago, zmk1962 said:

When you say it was done via FB I presume it was FB market place. If so there would be site rules governing buyer and seller obligations that you and the buyer agreed to by default by using the service. 
Your best recourse is to talk to FB seller support. 

BTW, I am not on FB, but have experience on eBay and other sales sites. Most of them have similar rules and regulations. 
 

cheers Zoran 

 

It was advertised in a group on Facebook.  Not sure if it was fb marketplace or not.  I'll look into it and see if there is anything in there.  

 

Correspondence about the deposit was done via email. 

 

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I think contacting the dept fair trading & asking would be the best idea.

 

The way I see it is even if FB has some sort of rule I dont think it would be applicable really as Australian consumer law will still be in effect. 

FB might be able to close the account if a member was found to be shonky or non compliant but they are a USA entity & dont think holds any legal weight here?

Edited by kingie chaser
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Hi Fishop. From an ethical viewpoint you should return the deposit and put it down to a bad experience. If you were the buyer, in a similar situation, wouldn't you want that outcome? After all the "buyer" has given you money and got nothing in return. You still have your boat for sale...

bn

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6 minutes ago, big Neil said:

After all the "buyer" has given you money and got nothing in return. You still have your boat for sale...

Yes I think it could be something like that BN, a deposit is just holding the item until the sale is finalised if no sale eventuates then the deposit is returned.

There could be some clause in ACL where a percentage of the deposit could be withheld if there were any out of pocket expenses incurred by the seller??

 

I once(long time ago) put a deposit on a car & pulled out of the sale, in the reciept for the deposit I got the seller to add that the sale was subject to to finance approval, after 24hrs I changed my mind but used the excuse that my finance application was rejected & got my full deposit back.

 

It was a dealer anyway, so I didnt feel bad about it¬†ūüėȬ†

 

Let us know how it tuns out @Fishop

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I guess what it all comes down to regardless of legality, is he didn't buy the boat (why is anyone's guess) just give him his deposit back, Mark it down as an experience/life lesson and just move on and advertise it again.

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As I understand it Dep Fair Trading DFT deals with enforcing Australian consumer laws - consumer purchasing from a business entity. The OP situation is a private sale. 


Australian Consumer Law does not apply when you buy from a private seller (eg buying a second-hand item from an individual on eBay) because they are not acting in trade or commerce like a normal retailer. When you buy from a private seller, it is called a consumer-to consumer transaction and contract law applies.

So the first step is to establish is if there was a contract or some form of agreement in place that governed the sale.

That’s why I advised the OP to check the FB terms and conditions (if any) as by using the site the agreement  to these T&Cs is implied - you are specifically looking for any clause pertaining to the treatment of a deposit or completion of the transaction.

As I see it if you can establish there was an agreement then you (or the buyer) have the basis to pursue this whether through the site provider or as a civil matter (under Aus contract laws) if you (or the buyer) feel strongly about it and it’s financially worth it. You may be able to use the agreement to force conclusion of the sale or keep the deposit. The buyer may be able to use the agreement to get out of the sale or recover the deposit.

Without an agreement In place you are operating in good faith with no real obligation to complete on either party except to do the right thing based on your morals. 

The site provider will have some leverage to enforce their rules - because you both met and acted on their site - but if you went and communicated via email off their platform they will probably walk away as they cannot validate what was said by whom. Often they just resort to threatening to ban the offender or both. 

Cheers Zoran 

PS - I am not a legal practitioner. My qualifications are from the school of hard knocks. 

 

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My simplistic view is, if you did not agree with the purchaser that the deposit was non-refundable, then the deposit should be returned.

If you did agree that it was not refundable, then provide a copy of that to them...whether you agree to return none or some or all to them will be ultimately up to you and how you view the position morally.

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Not exactly the same case but recently I put a boat for sale on Ebay, a bloke from Brisbane was the highest bidder, we arranged for payment etc and then the boarders were closed so he couldn't come and collect boat. ( he would have had to isolate in expensive hotel for 2 weeks on his return to QLD.) 

He was humming and haring IF he done the right thing or not by buying the boat. I would have returned his money ( less out of pocket expenses ) If he had changed his mind about collecting the boat.

As it turned out the borders were lifted and he came and collected the boat and took it back to Brisbane.

I can understand where people may change their minds about a certain purchase but as far as I am concerned they should first make up their mind before bidding or buying things.

Frank

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37 minutes ago, zmk1962 said:

As I understand it Dep Fair Trading DFT deals with enforcing Australian consumer laws - consumer purchasing from a business entity. The OP situation is a private sale. 


Australian Consumer Law does not apply when you buy from a private seller (eg buying a second-hand item from an individual on eBay) because they are not acting in trade or commerce like a normal retailer. When you buy from a private seller, it is called a consumer-to consumer transaction and contract law applies.

So the first step is to establish is if there was a contract or some form of agreement in place that governed the sale.
 

Yep, 100%.

You learn something new here every day :biggrinthumb:

 

Buying from a private seller in Australia or abroad

Australian Consumer Law does not apply when you buy from a private seller (eg buying a second-hand item from an individual on eBay) because they are not acting in trade or commerce like a normal retailer.

When you buy from a private seller, it is called a consumer-to consumer transaction and contract law applies. However, you still have the right to expect the title on the goods (full ownership) after purchase and that it is free from any security or charge on it, unless told otherwise before the sale.

We recommend seeking independent legal advice if you have a problem regarding a consumer-to-consumer transaction.

 

https://www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au/buying-products-and-services/ways-to-shop-and-pay/ways-to-shop#:~:text=When you buy from a private seller%2C it is called,told otherwise before the sale.

 

@FishopGood luck finding out anything from FB.

 

https://www.facebook.com/policies/commerce

Edited by kingie chaser
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I totally agree with big Neil. You've still got the boat....give him his deposit back! Everyone these days is so focused on litigation and what the law should or shouldn't be instead of just being "nice" and accepting for whatever reason that people can change their minds.

Lets all go back to being nice human beings again hey¬†ūüėÄ

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The notion of "move on, take it as a bad/learning experience" is more for the buyer and not the seller in most cases, in my view. If you took the boat off the market and waited for them, then they reneged, you've been burdened with the opportunity cost of not being able to sell the boat in the meantime while they were mucking around.

If it was agreed that the deposit was refundable pending an inspection/survey, that's different.

If it was simply a case of "take it off the market"; "I've changed my mind, I don't want it any more", there would be many people who wouldn't be returning the full deposit amount. Yes the reasonable thing would be to return it depending on the circumstances, but many would not do this.

The risk of losing your deposit serves as a deterrent against stuffing people around. I'd only give a deposit if we agreed it was refundable pending inspection. Otherwise, you're just wasting the other party's time and prolonging their selling process.

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If it was me, I’d return return 75% of the deposit claiming that the 25% you keep is for you being inconvenienced. 

Just check with fair trading if this course is legitimate. 

Then get on with selling the boat, if it’s a decent boat at a decent price it will sell.

Who knows the reason behind him now not wanting to go ahead with the purchase.

Put the shoe on the other foot, would you want your deposit back if your circumstances changed and could not go ahead with the purchase.

Integrity is everything

Just my thoughts.

 

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6 hours ago, shakey55 said:

If it was me, I’d return return 75% of the deposit claiming that the 25% you keep is for you being inconvenienced. 

Just check with fair trading if this course is legitimate. 

Then get on with selling the boat, if it’s a decent boat at a decent price it will sell.

Who knows the reason behind him now not wanting to go ahead with the purchase.

Put the shoe on the other foot, would you want your deposit back if your circumstances changed and could not go ahead with the purchase.

Integrity is everything

Just my thoughts.

 

As I mentioned earlier in this thread, just leave the legal sh#t out of it and give the guy his full deposit back, there's been no apparent harm done...... And that's just my thoughts too¬†ūüėČ

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Thanks for everyone's replies. 

Just to clarify its not my boat I was trying to speak in general terms.  Its a little more complex than my own personal boat. 

Still, I have put deposits on boats and cars and fully expected to lose the deposit if I changed my mind!   

In this particular case the boat in question has been off the market for 3 months and now the owners are left in a pickle to try and sell it in a shortened time frame.

I looked into FB terms and conditions and couldnt find much.  I was later told since they are US owned they wouldn't have any say in the matter really.

Its interesting that this sale is not covered under consumer law as its a private sale.

Either way, I will let everyone know how it turns out.  It may take until the boat is sold before the matter is finalised. 

Thanks! 

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like other have said give him the deposit back... but tell him you are withholding the cost of listing a new add up where ever it was listed and if it incurred costs.

 

Not sure what kind of boat you are selling but having recently sold my boat found out gumtree, facebook usually does not attract the best buyers out there.

 

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26 minutes ago, M1100S said:

like other have said give him the deposit back... but tell him you are withholding the cost of listing a new add up where ever it was listed and if it incurred costs.

 

Not sure what kind of boat you are selling but having recently sold my boat found out gumtree, facebook usually does not attract the best buyers out there.

 

Agreed on FB selling, Ive currently got my little boat up for sale on gumtree and FB marketplace. Plenty lowballers out there as always, especially on FB, and also gumtree, plus a scammer trying to get paypal details from me so he can organise a courier to pick it up.

nope.

Ive sold more stuff on gumtree but I found the exposure on FB can be good at least.

 

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