Return of goods


I have recently sold an item online, I arranged to post the item but at the last minute they arranged to pick it up from me, initially they paid £200 to me via bank transfer then paid the difference in cash and went on their way. Now only a day later they have complained to the site where I advertised the item saying they have paid for the item and have not received it. Where do I stand legally on this?


My understanding is that you concluded an online contract through which you were meant to ship the purchased item but later opted to let the buyer pick the item themselves. Legally sticking to the consumer goods act it is always advisable to stick to the terms of the initial agreement especially for online purchases and only transact in a manner that can evidence your dealings in writing. However, even in the circumstances not all is lost. My assumption is that you have a copy of the communication between yourself and the buyer especially regarding the local arrangement to have them finalise the payment in cash and pick the item. Did you have the buyer sign any acknowledgement of receipt of the item that you can scan and send to the website? That evidence alone should be able to stand for you as an acceptable deviation from the main contract. Sometimes email communication can form the subject of a contract provided the main performance elements are clear from the communication.

While this may be the case, there are some websites that require that the payment for the sale be made only through them. I hope these were not the terms as you would have been in breach by accepting cash payment. The law of equity is clear that he who comes to equity must come with clean hands. That means you may be unable to successfully claim if full payment through the advertising website was a requirement in concluding the sale. Otherwise if not, your communication with the buyer will be sufficient proof in your favour.

Disclaimer: This does in no way constitute legal advice and this info is added for general information and illustration purposes and should not to be used in specific cases. Please seek help from a solicitor as no legal case is identical and the law changes regularly.

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