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We purchased a door at Home Depot. It was a display model, and therefore sold at a significantly reduced price.

We also purchased installation service, and therefore left the door at the store so the installers could take measurements.

During this time Home Depot sold the same door again to another party, who took possession of it. They won't give us any further details, other than to say that the door is gone, and that they will refund our money. Presumably they could have found a buyer willing to pay more than we did.

We don't want a refund; we want the door and service as originally purchased. However, the store has told us that our only option to complete that transaction would be to purchase a new door for $2,000 more than we paid originally.

What recourse might we have in this scenario under contract or tort law?

  • Clarify: who instructed you, what did they instruct you to do? Why didn't you take the door once you paid for it? – user6726 Dec 1 '17 at 23:24
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Not a lawyer, but: In many countries, a purchased item is your property once you removed it from the premises of the seller. In practice, this rarely makes a difference. You have entered a contract with the seller where the seller has to deliver the product, and you have to pay the money, you did your part, they have to do their part. There would be a difference if the item was stolen while in the store, or damaged by fire, or if the store went bankrupt and bailiffs took the item. If these rules apply in your country, then what they did is not theft, otherwise it would be theft (in all countries, if the store removed the door from your home after it is installed, that would be theft).

You paid for a door, the store owes you a door. You have a legal contract. Both sides are bound by that legal contract. They have to do what the contract says (delivering the door that was displayed in the store), if they can't, then they have to do the nearest thing that isn't to your disadvantage, like delivering a new door. Or possible a different door that was on display. They can't just declare your contract invalid because it suits them better.

That wouldn't be the case if this would put the store at an unacceptable disadvantage. For example, if thieves had broken into the store and stolen ten doors, including yours, the store might get away with returning your money. Since they intentionally sold your door again to someone else, I don't think they could use this as an excuse.

I'd go once more to the store and ask them whether they want to deliver a door to you, according to your contract with the store, or if they want you to get a lawyer. A letter from a lawyer might work wonders. (Or of course the lawyer might tell you that I'm completely wrong, but they don't know that, so telling them that you will hire a lawyer might be enough).

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    As a practical matter, especially with a chain store like Home Depot, it's often not even a matter of impressing them with a legal threat so much as finding a manager who has been told, "Make the customer happy." Nobody in a store is ever going to see legal papers. A legal threat would have to be conveyed to a corporate office to have any meaning. OTOH, store-level managers have broad discretion to issue merchandise credits to resolve complaints. – feetwet Dec 2 '17 at 16:58
  • The delivery (and installation) contract is almost certainly with a third-party subcontractor, which mildly complicates the legal remedy. The last sentence plus a threatened CC to corporate is the easiest practical remedy. Store manager is always a good first choice. – user6726 Dec 2 '17 at 17:46

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