Our client turned to a wholesale company to purchase seven ATVs. He received the bill and paid it. After some time, the wholesale company handed him one ATV, while the transfer of the remaining six ATVs was delayed. After several months of waiting, the client sent a letter asking to return the advance payment he previously placed. The wholesale company refused to issue a refund. It referred to the fact that a contract was concluded between the parties, the terms of which establish a special complex procedure for the return of an advance payment. Our client did not receive the contract, but the details of the contract were indicated in the paid invoice for prepayment and in the transfer documents for the only ATV delivered.
In the interests of the client, we filed a claim for the return of the prepayment and collection of the interest on the amount of the prepayment to the Arbitration Court of the Moscow Region. In court, the defendant did not deny that he did not send a copy of the contract to our client, but claimed that a sample contract was posted on his website and all buyers could familiarize themselves with it. Payment of the invoice with the details of the contract, from the position of the wholesale company, meant the fact that our client was familiarized with this sample and consent (acceptance) of its conditions. The court of first instance on July 22, 2019 made a decision which charged the wholesale company an advance payment of four and a half million rubles, but refused to charge interest and court fees, because our client, according to the court decision, violated the terms of the contract.
Both parties disagreed with this decision and filed appeals to the Ninth Arbitration Court of Appeal. In the court of appeal, we indicated that, since our client did not receive his copy of the contract, he could not express his will to accept its terms. The inclusion of the contract number in the invoice and in the transfer documents cannot be equated to bringing the terms of the contract to the client. Therefore, paying the bill with the contract number did not mean acceptance of the terms of the contract itself. By a decision of October 22, 2019, the court of appeals agreed with our arguments, reversing the decision of the first instance regarding the denial of the claim and recovering interest from the advance payment and legal expenses from the wholesale company. The defendant’s complaint about the decision regarding the collection of the prepayment amount was rejected.