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Is there a legal stipulation regarding the return of a deposit?

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Is there a legal stipulation regarding the return of a deposit?

Old 03-03-2016, 06:05 PM
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Default Is there a legal stipulation regarding the return of a deposit?

You guys that feel a deposit shouldn't be returned....how would you feel if you were the one that gave a $1,000 deposit and you backed out of the deal and the owner wouldn't give you your $1K back? Giving a deposit back is totally (I think) a personal decision, and personally I would feel like a slime ball for not giving a guy his money back. Is there a legal ruling regarding deposits? The last 2 boats I sold I told both of the guys that I would hold the boat for them with no deposit, my word means a lot to me and you can trust that I will do what I said I would do.

Now that brings up another situation when I sold my Mako 224, had a guy fly in from Denver, CO to Ohio to check out the boat. I was asking $8,500 and he offered me $7500, in the mean time I had a guy from Phoenix, AZ that took a flight to Ohio to check out the boat. He offered me my full asking price and I told him I needed to call the guy from Denver that made me an offer. The two of them went back and forth and I actually got $9,850 which was $1,350 MORE than I was even asking. The guy from Denver was pissed off that I didn't accept his $7,500 offer but I told him I would think about it but I never said I would take $7,500. He didn't come out and say it but he implied that I was being unethical. I didn't ask for a deposit and he didn't offer to give me one so in my mind I was not obligated to him even a little bit.

The guy from AZ drove to Ohio 2 days before Christmas and picked up the boat from my house. I asked him why he didn't buy a boat locally, he said he couldn't find a Mako that had only been in freshwater and he wasn't going to buy a saltwater boat. I put a lot of cosmetic improvements into the boat and it looked almost new when I sold it.
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Old 03-03-2016, 06:11 PM
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Whatever the sales agreement /contract says. If you don't have one it may turn into an argument. No other answer really.
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Old 03-03-2016, 06:22 PM
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It will come down to what the "writing" says about the deposit. If it is a sale contract or is it an option contract? Normally in a sale contract a deposit is nonrefundable unless it states it is refundable, otherwise it is an option contract
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Old 03-03-2016, 06:23 PM
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This was on the papers I had to sign when I bought a car from a car dealer.
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Old 03-03-2016, 06:27 PM
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Agree on what the deposit means and then it's settled.

If I take a deposit on my boat, I turn down a higher offer if it comes in afterwards. But if the guy backs out for reasons we didn't agree to, I can keep the deposit. If I don't, it's because I'm being generous. I actually like a smaller deposit that's appropriate to my opportunity loss. But in any case, I want us to agree in writing to the terms of repayment.
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Old 03-03-2016, 06:29 PM
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So did you take a deposit from buyer 1? Did you take one from buyer 2? I'm trying to see the reason behind the title question ...
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Old 03-03-2016, 06:46 PM
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A deposit can mean whatever the two parties agree it means. Don't give or receive a deposit without a clear understanding. Putting it in writing is a good idea.
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Old 03-03-2016, 07:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Curmudgeon View Post
So did you take a deposit from buyer 1? Did you take one from buyer 2? I'm trying to see the reason behind the title question ...
The question is a result of the other thread about returning a deposit or keeping it. I didn't think there was any actual law that says one way or the other.

No I didn't take a deposit from buyer 1 or 2. The only time I accepted a deposit was when I sold my lawn tractor a month ago. The guy insisted that I take his $100 deposit even though I wouldn't have sold it to anyone else because I gave him my word that I wouldn't.

My question is assuming that no contract and/or anything in writing that specifically addresses whether or not the deposit gets refunded.
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Old 03-03-2016, 09:45 PM
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You have a contract when 3 things happen:

Offer to sell
Acceptance of offer
Consideration (payment in some form) .

A deposit is enough payment to evidence to establish a binding contract, even if the terms are verbal. Subject only to whatever terms were agreed at the time.

Thats why many people want to give or get a deposit - it establishes the third component required to establish a contract between the parties that both are now obliged to complete.

If you are the seller and neither you or the purchaser mentions what happens to a deposit in the event that the seller pulls out because they change their mind, then you've both got a problem, but the buyer's got the biggest problem because he has now breached the agreement.

He is at fault.

Liable for any damage you have suffered through loss of potential other sales, readvertising, other expenses incurred that flow from him pulling out for reasons other than as were agreed might cause him to pull out as stated in the contract.

Buyer will be lucky to get any deposit back. Might have to start a fight to try to get it or part of it back.

Depends on how hard-nosed the seller is.
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Old 03-04-2016, 06:48 AM
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Originally Posted by RussH View Post
Now that brings up another situation when I sold my Mako 224, had a guy fly in from Denver, CO to Ohio to check out the boat. I was asking $8,500 and he offered me $7500, in the mean time I had a guy from Phoenix, AZ that took a flight to Ohio to check out the boat. He offered me my full asking price and I told him I needed to call the guy from Denver that made me an offer. The two of them went back and forth and I actually got $9,850 which was $1,350 MORE than I was even asking. The guy from Denver was pissed off that I didn't accept his $7,500 offer but I told him I would think about it but I never said I would take $7,500. He didn't come out and say it but he implied that I was being unethical. I didn't ask for a deposit and he didn't offer to give me one so in my mind I was not obligated to him even a little bit.
I'm a huge fan of transparency. Sounds like you were simply being transparent in your dealings with each buyer. You gave the Denver guy right of first refusal although you were under no ethical or moral obligation to do so. Both he and the Arizona guy were aware of the circumstances and particulars. There was full disclosure on your part, no sleazy manipulative tactics.
The reality is both wanted the boat, neither had an accepted offer from you, you gave each an equal opportunity to purchase it. It seems the Arizona guy knew exactly what he was looking for and knew how scarce it was and was willing to pay a fair price, while the Denver guy was angry at himself for letting such a bristol vessel slip from his grasp. He was being greedy and trying to low ball. I bet the Arizona guy never regretted paying above asking because he got what he wanted. We all know a motorboat that has been well cared for commands a premium, as does a fresh water vessel.
It is nice that your integrity was rewarded, literally. It is also nice that the boat was purchased by someone who values it and is more likely to keep it well maintained.
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Old 03-06-2016, 09:31 PM
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Your sense of ethical behavior follows the law. A deposit is refundable absent an agreement to the contrary. If you want to retain all or part of a deposit, you must provide for the circumstances which would entitle you to do so. This is best done with a written agreement, such as the one I provided in the other thread.
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Old 03-07-2016, 03:24 AM
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Hell I am just shocked somebody would drive that far for a $8K boat

I would assume that if I gave a deposit it was good faith money and that IF I backed out then I would lose my deposit however if I were the seller I would state that this is a NON REFUNDABLE deposit if I had that intention

If I did not state that it was non refundable I would refund it with no problem
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