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Importing a classic from the USA - can I cancel and get a refund?

Six weeks ago I paid a deposit to a classic car importer for a vehicle which is being shipped from the USA. The dealer has a very good reputation and the vehicle is a restoration project. I based my decision to purchase upon a large number of photographs provided by the dealer.

Unfortunately my circumstances have changed and I can no longer afford the restoration work, so I have sent an email to the dealer asking for the return of my deposit.

Am I right in thinking that as I did not sign a contract, the dealer is obliged to refund my 10% deposit? Or is it the case that since I paid the deposit I am legally obliged to complete the deal or risk being in breach of contract?

Asked on 14 May 2015 by bhawk

Answered by Honest John
The least you will have to do is forfeit your deposit. Assuming the car meets the criteria of a 'vehicle of historical interest', you are legally bound to pay the balance of the full amount. it does not matter that the contract was unwritten.

The 10% deposit makes it a contract. Distance selling regulations do not apply because you employed the dealer as your agent to source, buy and import the car and you have put him to considerable expense. If he wants to, he can sue you for the full outstanding amount.
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