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Deposit on a wedding dress

Q: A week ago, I paid a deposit on a wedding dress. I had tried on the dress a couple of days before and while doing so, the sales girl told me if I decided to order it and then changed my mind, I could get the deposit back.

So a couple of days later, I placed the order and paid the deposit. After doing so, I realised that the wedding dress was actually too expensive for my budget, so I decided to cancel the order.

When I called the owner and informed him about my decision, he told me that since I had paid the deposit I had to buy the wedding dress.

I informed him about the verbal agreement with the sales girl, which is now being denied.

Where do I stand? I don’t mind losing the deposit but I should have been told about this risk when I placed the order. Can the seller make me buy the dress?

A: When we order something and pay a deposit, it becomes a sales contract, which is legally binding on both the seller and the buyer. On one hand, the seller is obliged to provide the ordered good, which in this case is a wedding dress, at the agreed price and at the agreed date. On the other hand, you, as the buyer, are obliged to finalise the order by paying for the dress when it is delivered.

Legally you only have the right to change your mind and cancel the order if you have a pre-sale agreement that allows for such a situation.

You said the sales girl assured you that you could change your mind and get back your deposit. However, since you do not have anything in writing, it is basically your word against hers. Such agreements should be clearly put in writing on the contract of sale.

If the seller insists you should continue with the purchase of the wedding dress, you may file a complaint with the Complaints and Conciliation Directorate at the Office for Consumer Affairs on the basis that you had a verbal agreement saying you could change your mind and cancel the order.

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