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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Consumer Protection Law
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Experience:  Lawyer
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RV Deposit Refund

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I put a 2000 dollar deposit down on an RV over the phone (credit card). I was told it was fully refundable until I signed the sales agreement at which point it would be nonrefundable. The dealer sent me the paperwork via email. He also applied for financing and I was approved. I changed my mind the day before I was scheduled to pick up the RV. I had not signed the contract so all our dealings up to that point had been verbal. He, of course, tried to convince me to buy the RV for about 20 minutes, when finally I said " I'm jus not going to purchase the vehicle, so what do you need from me?"  He said he had prepped the unit and I offered to pay for the cost of doing this, which he said was not the issue.  So, I then got a little concerned and asked "so you are not going to return my deposit?"   He asked me to write a letter stating that I was no longer going to purchase the rv and sign, date, scan and send it to him via email, which I did adding a request for my deposit to be refunded.


 I live in NH and the dealer is in NJ. Should I also send a hard copy of the letter via registered mail. How long should I wait to contact my credit card company if the credit doesn't show up?


My name is XXXXX XXXXX I'd be happy to answer your questions today. I'm sorry to hear that this happened.

If he responded to the email, then you have evidence that it was received. If he didn't respond, then you may want to send a letter via certified mail asking him to confirm as soon as possible that he received your request and how he will be returning your deposit - it's possible that they're going to issue you a check.

Every credit card company is different - typically, they give people 60 or 90 days to dispute a charge. However, they might be able to see if a credit is pending, so there's no harm in calling them to check.

The problem here is that, when a credit card company is reviewing a charge, they're only looking at whether it was authorized. They're not allowed to consider whether you changed your mind later or decided to revoke that authorization, because the credit card company doesn't have the ability to decide legally who is right. They can only say "Yes you authorized this" or "No, you didn't," (or sometimes verify the correct amounts). So, the credit card company may not be able to help, regardless of when you contact them. If you do not get the money, you may have to go to court to get a refund (in New Jersey).

If you do wind up in court, the judge will look at whether the $2,000 was paid to hold the RV (in which case, it typically would not be refundable), or whether it was part of a down payment to be returned if the sale didn't go through.

If you have any questions or concerns about what I've written, please reply so that I may address them. It's important to me that you are 100% satisfied with the service I provide. Otherwise, please rate my service positively so that I get credit for answering your question. Thank you.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

When we were negotiating the price of the RV, I told him that I was going to get my own financing. He offered to apply through their bank- Bank of America - to get a better rate. I stated that I wanted to bring as little to the table as possible and he asked would you be willing to put 2000 dollars down, which I said yes, so he took my deposit by credit card. I was reluctant and he stated that the deposit was fully refundable until I signed the sales agreement, which I never did. When the contract came it had the 2000 listed as a downpayment. I don't know if this matters but I left the deposit on Saturday at 4 pm and the following Wednesday I called at 9am when they opened to say I would not be purchasing the unit, so there was only a three and a half day period. I also did not receive the contract until Monday afternoon. Do any of these facts change anything?

That makes it sound very much like it was a deposit toward the purchase price, and not a payment to hold the RV, which gives you a stronger argument in trying to get the money back.

You can try to see what the credit card company will do. They may find that it was only authorized if you completed the sale.
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