Breach of Contract by a Vendor

Paralegal Services Case Study

My client purchased hardwood flooring on April 24, 2018, from a retail flooring company in Brampton, Ontario.  The flooring was not in stock and had to ordered.  My client put down a $3,500.00 deposit with a balance of $3,882.00 to be paid when the flooring would arrive in two weeks.  By May 30th, the flooring had still not arrived and the retailer was not responding to my client’s inquiries as to when the flooring would arrive. 

I delivered a letter to the retailer advising that it had breached the agreement by not delivering the flooring and demanding cancelation of the sale and a refund of my clients’ $3,500.00 deposit.  Despite both hand-delivering and emailing the demand letter to the retailer, the retailer ignored the letter.  On June 22nd, I issued a Plaintiff’s Claim in the Brampton Small Claims Court to obtain the deposit monies.  Incredibly, the retailer filed a defence stating that the product was in the warehouse and ready for pick up, which was false.

A settlement conference was held on October 11th, during which the retailer offered to refund only $917.00, which comprised the full amount of the invoice less a 35 per cent restocking fee.  Considering that the flooring had never been received, this restocking fee was preposterous.  My client declined the settlement offer.  The judge gave his opinion that if the matter went to trial, the retailer would be ordered to return to my client the entire amount of the deposit.

Subsequent to the settlement conference, I had a further communication with the retailer after which it refunded the $3,500.00 deposit to my client in its entirety.

Takeaways

There are two takeaways from this case:

  1. Always put down the smallest deposit as possible. 
  2. Unless you are dealing with a well-established, large box-store chain, it is always a good idea to check out a business with the Better Business Bureau before buying any item of value or putting down a deposit.

Small Claims Court Paralegal

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