You and the Law – 27th July 2010

Driver’s keepers

I bought a car which was put in my wife’s name.  We sold it to a friend, who is now the registered keeper, but we continued using it to get from A to B.

Now my wife and I have separated, but she won’t return the car.  What can my friend do to get it back?  KT

As long as your friend has evidence that he is genuinely the owner of the vehicle he could consider involving the police over an alleged theft; this would probably encourage your wife to return the vehicle.

Alternatively he could ask a solicitor to write to your wife threatening legal action if the car isn’t returned.  Your friend could take your wife to court to force her to hand over the vehicle or to compensate him for its value.

If you sold the car after you and your wife separated your wife will probably argue that you have disposed of a jointly-owned asset, in which case you will have to compensate her when you sort out your finances.

Face the music

Six months ago I hired a disco for next Christmas and paid £100 deposit.
Shortly afterwards I had to cancel it when I discovered I was pregnant, but they refuse to refund my deposit, even though they had more than a year’s notice of the cancellation.  What can I do?  RU

The disco people are entitled to compensation for any losses they sustain as a result of you breaking your agreement with them.  That means they could keep your money (and perhaps ask you for the balance) if they weren’t able to find anyone else to book them on the date you wanted.

When you put down a deposit it usually means you’re committing yourself to completing the transaction.  If you don’t fulfil your side of the bargain and there’s nothing in the paperwork to suggest that you can have your money back on cancellation, your deposit is usually forfeit.

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