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When a Price is Reduced After Your Deposit is Paid

By: Sarah Clark (ILEX) - Updated: 22 Nov 2019 | comments*Discuss
 
When A Price Is Reduced After Your Deposit Is Paid

Retailers are desperate to get our custom at the moment and most of the time this works in the consumer's favour, as sales are springing up all over the place and prices seem to be dropping. Instant credit and good deals are the order of the day, and for a small deposit you can secure anything from a new sofa to a complete kitchen or bathroom.

Unfortunately, it can also work against you. If you are one of the unlucky people who agrees to buy an expensive item at a non-sale price, puts down the deposit but then realises that the item has been reduced in the sale, it can leave you spitting feathers. But is there anything you can do legally?

Contract Law

The straightforward answer to the question is that contract law says "No." When you buy goods, under the Sale and Supply of Goods Act there are four principles you need to be aware of. The first principle is called the 'Invitation to Treat'.

Invitation to Treat

An Invitation to Treat is, simply put, the advertised price of the goods, whether on a sticker, in a newspaper or poster or online. It's not part of the contract - which confuses some people who believe that an advertised price is legally binding. Although it may be described as a 'Special Offer' a sale price is not an offer at all, under contract law.

The Offer and Consideration

The next principle is the offer. Let's say you spot a sofa you really like at £1000. You decide to buy it - and then make the seller an 'offer' of that price. The seller accepts this offer (acceptance.) Then, you hand over a deposit of £100 and the seller agrees to supply you with the sofa on an agreed date. This is 'consideration' from both of you, where goods or services change hands for money or 'other consideration.' You now have a completed contract - you have agreed to purchase the sofa and they have agreed to supply it...at the price agreed at the time.

If the Price Goes Down

If you pass the shop a week later, and spot the very same sofa in a sale with 50 per cent off, legally you don't have any right to demand the sofa for less. After all, you agreed to buy it for £1000. You can ask the manager if, given that the sofa hasn't been delivered to you yet and all you've paid is the deposit, he will consider giving you your sofa at the same price it is now being advertised for.

If he is a very nice manager, he or she might say that under the circumstances the shop will knock 50 per cent off of the price for you. The important thing is that they are not obliged to. So be nice! If they stand their ground, you might think you have the upper hand by saying that you'll cancel the contract and look elsewhere. Unfortunately, you don't have the right to do that, and if you force the issue it could put you in breach of contract. At best the retailer can keep your deposit to cover 'out of pocket expenses' and at worst they could attempt to force the performance of the contract - that is make you accept the sofa. In the case of an item that's ready made, it's less likely to happen - but if you are having an item made to your specification, they may well try to either force you to accept the goods or sue you for breach of contract if you refuse.

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Put £100 deposit down on designer bathroom fittings that were being discounted to make way for new showroom stock. With the balance to pay when delivery comes around when we were ready. The company agreed to keep items with no timeline stipulated. We went in yesterday and we're informed that they had sold our goods. What rights do we have to insist on getting items we paid deposit on? We will now be out of pocket if we have to buy top price?
Gibby - 22-Nov-19 @ 6:22 PM
Furry... Don't buy fur coats.. you deserve what you get
Drtoon1 - 26-Nov-18 @ 11:58 AM
Paid 40% deposit on fur coat from Hockley. ToldManager I was waiting for large payout and would collect garment in due course. The amount left to pay £1200. I contacted company again to up date they confirmed ‘no problem’ the coat is in their cold storage facility. Recently called retailer & Manager said, “your coat has been sold, hard luck your money is gone, nothing I can do companies gone into liquidation”. I checked on companies house and with accountant who did their year end accounts. I know for a FACT this to be totally untrue. What do I do?
Furry - 25-Nov-18 @ 2:30 PM
I have put a £200 down on a pup Notice she has reduced all other pups as prob can’t sell Can I ask to reduce mine as I was paying a lot more as was a girl Just not fair Angie
Angel - 21-Nov-18 @ 11:45 PM
Gayle - Your Question:
Hi I paid a £200 deposit on a puppy a few weeks ago costing £1200. She has 7 and only sold 2 so she has reduced the price to £1000. I haven’t picked it up yet but messaged her and she won’t reply as to whether she will reduce mine.

Our Response:
She doesn't have to reduce the price. You agreed to a certain price and paid the deposit accordingly.
ConsumerRightsExpert - 3-Jul-18 @ 2:50 PM
Hi I paid a £200 deposit on a puppy a few weeks ago costing £1200. She has 7 and only sold 2 so she has reduced the price to £1000. I haven’t picked it up yet but messaged her and she won’t reply as to whether she will reduce mine.
Gayle - 30-Jun-18 @ 8:17 AM
Bought 2 shirts from Zara and they went into sale so i return them and rebuy them in store. It happened for several other items I had bought so I went back to store to do it again and the store said No and quoted a policy that I can return items but I can't rebut them because they have to hold them for 24hrs before putting back on shop floor. Sounds very unfair and a cheat to us consumers.
SAM - 1-Feb-18 @ 6:09 PM
We bought a table from M&S- it was advertised as 30% off. Now, before it has been delivered it is being advertised at 40% off which is £40 less than we paid If I cancel my order M&S say they will charge £50 Is there anything we can do?
Jellybean21 - 6-Oct-17 @ 9:14 PM
On 30th December 2016 we ordered a suite with m and s and paid just over £3100 it had 20% off at the time which is m and s normal discount.We have not received the suite it is due for delivery on 23rd March ( payment has been taken from our credit card).Is there anything we can do, we havesaved so long and now it's almost £800 cheaper, us there anything we can do.
Jennywren - 22-Jan-17 @ 10:02 PM
Jenny- Your Question:
Hi I recently rang up to view a puppy for sale at £1200 went and viewed the puppy and they asked for a £200 deposit which we paid, nothing more was said on the price and we arranged to pick up puppy when she was ready to leave the mother. Between us ringing to view and us paying the deposit the advert had changed to £1400. Where do I stand? Surely if they didn't inform us the advert had changed and the price had increased we should get the puppy for the advertised price we rang up about? Thanks

Our Response:
Surely when you paid the deposit you were given (or asked about)the amount due? Just because the advert has changed doesn't mean your price to the owner has changed. Have you spoken to them? Do you have a copy of the orignal advert?
ConsumerRightsExpert - 6-Oct-16 @ 12:03 PM
Hi I recently rang up to view a puppy for sale at £1200 went and viewed the puppy and they asked for a £200 deposit which we paid, nothing more was said on the price and we arranged to pick up puppy when she was ready to leave the mother. Between us ringing to view and us paying the deposit the advert had changed to £1400. Where do I stand? Surely if they didn't inform us the advert had changed and the price had increased we should get the puppy for the advertised price we rang up about? Thanks
Jenny - 4-Oct-16 @ 9:25 PM
A VW dealership advertised a Golf for sale. I test drove it and agreed to pay the price. They took a deposit from me and emailed a confirmation of the price. They are now saying it was a mistake and are advertising the car for £3000 more. What are my rights, please?
Carbuyer - 16-Jul-16 @ 8:38 AM
Payed £229 for a week with hoseasons went on the site couple of hours later 3pm and the price has been dropped by £64. Should they be able to change the price two hours later in the same day? Where do i stand in getting the difference back?
dazza - 1-Jul-16 @ 5:49 PM
Hi I booked and paid for a lodge to celebrate my sisters birthday in November fot a weekend in January. The cost was £1989 on another holiday site (Hoseasons) it has been reduced by £690 for the same lodge on the same weekend. If I cancel my booking I will not get my money back do I have any rights/come back.
Joni - 7-Jan-16 @ 11:15 AM
I purchased a TV from Currys 2 and a half weeks ago and notice that the same item has had a reduction in price. Where do I stand when going back to ask for the money back? Also, if they refuse, could I not purchase the new TV at the lower price and then request a refund with the old receipt? Thanks
Gillygilly - 18-Dec-15 @ 11:13 PM
@nettles - do you have the receipt?
ConsumerRightsExpert - 31-Mar-15 @ 2:51 PM
I had a soupmaker bought for me for £79.90 for a present which I am going to Exchange. However I have noticed it has been reduced by £20.00. What will I be able to Exchamge for something else .will it be the original price of £79.99 or the reduced price. It was purchased 2 weeks ago
Nettles - 28-Mar-15 @ 3:53 PM
@Ricky Herts. In accepting your deposit, the company has in effect accepted your 'offer' so a contract is in place. They have broken the contract by increasing the price but they've offered you your deposit back. In this case it's probably not worth the effort of arguing. You could ask them for a discount against an alternative purchase as a good will gesture? Or try insisting that they sell you the watch at the agreed price. Take legal advice before deciding to do the latter.
ConsumerRightsExpert - 3-Feb-15 @ 11:05 AM
Two months ago I placed a deposit with an online retailer for a luxury watch. They told me it would take 4-6 weeks. This time has now passed. They have now told me that the manufacturer has increased the price and they don't know much how much by so they are cancelling my order and returning my deposit. What are my rights? I placed a deposit for an item at an agreed price. Are they not legally obliged to provide me with that item at the price agreed?
RickyHerts - 30-Jan-15 @ 12:01 PM
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