Can a local business keep all of the money paid if you can’t finish paying off an item

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can a local business keep all of the money paid if you can’t finish paying off an item

Recently I had began a down payment system on a PC at a local business, sadly I
lost my job so I can no longer afford to keep funding this PC. I’m attempting to
return the PC for my funds and they told me ‘ the PC is not elligable for a cash
return but if you cant make the final payment then you can return the computer
without making the final payment do remember that the VR headset and PC are a
bundle soo both will need to be returned.’ I just would like to find out if
legally they can take all of the 1400 I’ve put towards the PC and take the PC.

Asked on October 29, 2018 under Business Law, Washington


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Yes, they can keep all the money. You signed a contract to pay a certain amount for the computer: that makes you legally obligated to pay the full amount. If you fail to pay the full amount, you are in breach of contract: that breach means 1) you are not entitled to keep the computer, because you did not pay the contracted amount; and 2) the are allowed to keep all sums to date due to your breach. The problem is, your contractual obligation is not dependent on your ability to pay; therefore, failing to pay for any reason puts you in breach.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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