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must I refund deposit on a vehicle not purchased?

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I live in New Hampshire. I advertised my motorcycle on the internet and got a response and the potential buyer came and looked at the bike. She said she wanted it and asked me to hold it until she came up with a down payment, which I did. She paid $500 down on the cycle to hold it, leaving a balance due of $500, which was to be paid the following month. Time went by - no payment, but then I get an email saying she has financial problems and won't be able to pay the balance due and she wants her down payment refunded. All negotiations were either verbal or by email, and it was never stated that the down payment was refundable or non-refundable. There was never a bill of sale or receipt made for the down payment or balance due. My question is: Am I legally obligated to refund her deposit/down payment on the bike? Thanks for your time and help!



Senior Member
Rather than argue the legalities of the issue, first you need to consider the ethics.

If you lost a sale or incurred costs in selling the motorcycle to the 'lost' buyer, it would certainly be reasonable for you to be compensated for that loss or damage. However, your benefiting from someone elses having financial problems (or even a change of mind) without your having any actual damages would be something for your conscience to consider. My only question would be, "How would you feel if the situation were reversed??"

Then, after considering your conscience, you can consider the legal issues.


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