Q: I have a client who placed an online order for a Christmas decoration and paid a deposit to confirm the order. The order was processed and work started to make the product ordered. Now the client has informed me that she changed her mind and wants to cancel the order. The client is asking for a refund of the deposit paid.

Am I obliged to refund the deposit? As far as I know, a deposit is a binding commitment between the seller and the buyer confirming the sales transaction.

A: Yes, a deposit is a commitment between a consumer and a trader that confirms the purchase of the agreed product or service. If consumers change their mind, sellers may reserve the right to retain the deposit paid to cover any expenses incurred in relation to the cancelled sale.

However, in case of online sales the situation is different. These types of purchases are covered by the Consumer Rights Regulations that entitle consumers to a 14-day withdrawal period. The 14 days start from the date the sale is concluded and end 14 days after the consumers receive the goods. During this time, consumers may change their mind about the purchase made and request a full refund of the money paid.

If, however, the Christmas decoration your customer ordered was made to her specifications or was clearly personalised, then the sale is exempted from the right of withdrawal.

This means that for this particular sale, your customer cannot change her mind and request a refund of the money paid.

Sign up to our free newsletters

Get the best updates straight to your inbox:
Please select at least one mailing list.

You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the link in the footer of our emails. We use Mailchimp as our marketing platform. By subscribing, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to Mailchimp for processing.