How Many Of You Could Refund A 16K Deposit Check?

Our client gave us a 50% deposit on a project, signed a contract, etc. We were a little late to start the project by 2-3 weeks, but nothing that violated our contract. All of the material was ordered, and I sent an email stating we would be starting the next day. The sites we work on do not typically need any notice for preparation, etc. I get a phone call saying they want to cancel the project, as they are selling the asset, and expect to close in 30 days. Now they want their deposit refunded. The contract does not cover deposits. It does say if they cancel the contract mid project, they have to pay for all work done.

I think the fair thing is to refund the deposit minus 500-1000 to cover the burden. We have not experienced much harm, and we have more projects in the pipeline. But we will have to sort the parts, possibly hold some for a bit until the right project comes along etc.

We are a small integrator, that 16K went into the bank, paid for materials and has been spent. I figure over time we can pay it back as other checks come in, we use the materials elsewhere, etc.

Just wondering how many companies doing 1M a year with less than 10 employees could just write a 16K check as a refund? How realistic is this expectation?

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