Can a retailer cancel a pre-order even after it has been fully paid?

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Can a retailer cancel a pre-order even after it has been fully paid?

Is purchasing something in this manner a contract? What if the buyer finds adventagous for the order to be continued because this deal cannot be found elsewhere, any recourse?

Asked on December 23, 2012 under General Practice, Michigan

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

No, the retailer may not cancel the order after it has been paid unless--

1) The terms of sale (that is, the terms, whether in a formal agreement, on the website or other marketing materials, etc.) pursuant to which the buyer purchased the item specifically give the retailer the right to cancel--and the retailer follows the procedures outlined in those materials for doing so, which would include returning the payment, unless there was clear notice before the buyer placed the order that he/she could lose some or all of the money in this circumstance.

2) The item is no longer available to the retailer--the law allows a contract or agreement to be voided for impossibility, if there is simply no way to honor or fulfill it. Because the transaction is voided, the retailer must return the money.

3) The transaction becomes legally impossibility, due to a change in the law (e.g. say the buyer were buying an assault weapon, but the buyer's state outlawed them before it could ship)--again, the buyer's money would have to be returned.

4) It is discovered that the buyer committed fraud, or knowingly misrepresented some material or important fact, to get the retailer to engage in the transaction; fraud allows the other party to rescind the agreement, which again would involve returning the money.


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