How can I get a refund of a deposit if the contract says deposits are non-refundable?

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How can I get a refund of a deposit if the contract says deposits are non-refundable?

I hired a moving company to move me from OH to GA with a move window of between the 10th-13th of this month. The company has now told me they cannot move me until the 17th-20th. The contract states the original dates and I provided a $400 deposit to secure their services for those dates. They have not offered any other services and I am scheduled to be out of my apartment by the 13th with all utilities being shut off on that day. What legal action can I take?

Asked on August 10, 2011 Ohio

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You can sue them to force them to either honor the contract or for monetary damages, such damages including the return of the deposit and the extra cost, if any, over what they would have charged to either get your property moved on time or get it stored in the interim.

A nonrefundable deposit is generally nonrefundable in the event the buyer/customer/client changes his or her mind--it is intended to incentivize the customer to not change his/her mind and to provide some compensation to the company if the customer does. However, if the company is the one which breaches the agreement--such as by not performing a move within the agreed-upon time frame--they cannot keep the deposit; it's only refundable in the event of your breach. The company can't refuse to do what you contracted them to do and keep your money anyway.


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