If a sales representative set up a payment arrangement on a wedding dress but did not get it approved through the manager, can the down payment be recovered?

My mother put $800 down on my brother’s fiancee’s wedding dress, the 2 flower girls’ dresses, and the 2 mother’s dresses. Additional 2 payments of $200 a piece were made with a remainder of $467. IHowever, the sales lady did not get the payment arrangement approved through the general manager and now the down payment is not refundable. The dresses are put up for sale and the only action taken by the store is that the sales lady was terminated.

Asked on November 10, 2011 under General Practice, Oklahoma


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

The deposit is absolutely refundable: a store, or indeed any party to a sale, service, or transaction, may not keep a deposit or other payment while also not providing the goods or services. The fact that the sales representative may not have had the proper approval or authority is irrelevant--that is between her and her employer. The store has only two choices: refund the deposit, or provide the goods.

If the store will not, you may sue it, including possibly in small claims court (representing yourself, so need for lawyer's fees). In many states, like NJ, you may even be able  to receive additional damages or compensation, but suing under a consumer fraud act (in NJ, the Consumer Fraud Act, or CFA).

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