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The case, which focused upon the legal issues that can arise when a handshake deal is broken, was heard at Central London County Court, Regents Park on January 31.

The court heard that on May 13, 2006 Jeff Salmon of Decoratum at Alfies had visited the Notting Hill furniture shop Colombo owned by Christian Quinlan, where the two men discussed the purchase of a table by British designer Tom Dixon.

Salmon’s initial offer of £2500 was rejected but two days later a price of £2750 was agreed both over the telephone and by email. It was also agreed that Quinlan would arrange to have a new glass surface made for the table and a price for this work was also agreed.

By the Summer Olympia fair Salmon and Quinlan were back in touch. Quinlan told Salmon the new glass had arrived but it was damaged and another was being made. Salmon had by this time agreed to sell the table on to a third party for £9750 plus VAT.

Later, however, Salmon received a courteous letter in which Quinlan said he could no longer sell him the table. It emerged later that Quinlan had accepted an offer of £1000 more from another customer.

In his defence, Quinlan said he had sent an invoice dated May 21, 2006 to Salmon in which payment terms of seven days were listed. He produced what he said was a copy of the invoice for the court.

Salmon, who represented himself in court, said he had received no invoice, but the judge agreed this had little bearing on the case. The seven-day terms had not been discussed when the original deal was struck and, in accordance with the Sale of Goods Act, could not be added after the date of an initial contract, whether it was written or verbal.

The judge, who suggested this should have been a case for summary judgment, (essentially there was no case to answer), ordered Quinlan to pay Salmon’s costs and asked that the two men reach a compensation agreement.