Skip to content

Are there any exceptions to the obligation to return deposits?

The CMA sees only limited circumstances in which a full refund would not be given. The CMA accepts that where public health measures prevent a business from providing a service or the consumer from receiving it, the business may be able to deduct a contribution to the costs it has already incurred in relation to the specific contract in question.

This view reflects a relatively complex area of law under which parties are released from obligations under a contract if performance of that contract becomes impossible or illegal. This is called “frustration” of the contract. Under a law passed during World War II, a party to a contract that is frustrated who has incurred expenses is permitted, if the court thinks fit, to retain an amount up to the value of those expenses out of any money they have been paid by the other party.

The CMA’s view, however, is that this will not happen often, and that deductions from deposits will be limited.