Holding deposit taken despite being told offer not legally binding

Hi there - hoping for some help on an offer I made with Dexters. I’m not very happy with the treatment I received, which basically rushed me into an agreed offer and my holding deposit being taken. Despite me specifically asking, before making my offer, if doing so was legally binding.

The key facts are:

  1. Before submitting my offer and conditions, I called Dexters to confirm that submitting the offer was NOT legally binding and that no money would be taken from my account until I was consulted. They confirmed yes.
  2. In good faith, I gave the agent my credit card details. Even though I knew that it was a common practice for tenants to “accidentally” give false credit card details to prevent exactly what happened to me from happening…
  3. After my offer was accepted by the landlord, Dexters immediately pulled the money out of my account. I was under the (apparently false) assumption that I would be asked if this is ok.

Normally, and legally, I understand now that the offer and acceptance is probably reason enough for taking the holding deposit as we have entered into a verbal contract.

That said, I believe that the agent’s representation has subverted the usually legal ‘contract making process’. Because he confirmed my very specific question that my offer WASN’T legally binding and my money WOULDN’T be taken from my account until I confirmed that treatment.

The ‘funny’ part is that we got a great offer on this flat, but subsequently found our “dream” flat and want to back out of the first one. The timing was all mixed together and I thought I had sufficient protections in place to prevent this - apparently not!

What do you think? Can I realistically back out of the first agreed offer and get my holding deposit back?

Do I have any other recourse/strategies available to me?


Mistake .You gave your credit card details . Do NOT trust agents (or the local council) i am surprised you believed them

Think all you can do is put in writing to them what you have stated here about their intentional misrepresentation of the process following your questions.
Don’t hold your breath though.

Speak to their ombudsman ( they will be registered with a redress scheme )

It does not look promising though

You backed out after the landlord agreed so they are within their rights to hold it unless you have your issues in writing https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/922900/Tenant_Fees_Act_-_Tenant_Guidance.pdf

You should always ask for their payment Account
details so then you can pay the holding deposit or
if you ever pay cash then always take official receipt with
signatures and readable name of the agent.

If you have give the credit card details and taken the money then easy way to contact your credit card company to dispute departments explaining everything that you did not
authorise to take money out.

They will ask you to provide all information and then they will contact Dexters too.

Any payments by credit cards are insured and dispute teams will sort out based on evidence.
All the best

They should have give the receipt saying when and and why they will be taking payment out.

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Like some are saying here I would contact your credit card provider - anything over 100 is usually automatically covered. However, Dexters do have the right to take you to court if you do that - I’m not saying they would win but they do have the right.

You have to give authorisation for payment to be taken, Dexters may say that by giving your details that was authorisation but they have to make you aware of this before you give your details (and then inevitably taking funds). By the sounds of it, they didn’t and it would be great if you had evidence of that. If you do have that evidence it is likely that your bank will open a fraud case to ensure that funds were not taken by use of deception.

A holding deposit unless you signed a contract is not legally binding to enter in to a tenancy agreement. It just takes the property off the market.

I know this info about the banking world as its been my job for the past 12 years! See this type of thing aaaall the time. I am however basing my response off the limited info you gave.

A verbal agreement is, in theory, also legally binding, so if it came to a legal dispute I suppose it goes on who the Judge believes.

So if they did not give you paperwork etc., or get you to sign your agreement and understanding, I would assume this would be in your favour.