Eclipse Sued For Deposit Refund

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A British buyer of an Eclipse 500 very light jet is reportedly suing the jet maker, claiming the order has been cancelled, but that a $180,0000 refund is past due, according to the Albuquerque Journal. Attorney Robert Sutphin is suing Eclipse on behalf of London-based Ice Blue Air, which signed on in July of 2006 to purchase a $1.5 million Eclipse 500. Meanwhile, Eclipse says, through its attorney David Thuma, that the buyer is not entitled to a refund of the deposit per the purchase agreement. The company has also said that refunds will be delayed until its next round of financing is in place, possibly as late as the end of the year.

Since Ice Blue placed its order, Eclipse has raised the price of the aircraft to $2.15 million, according to the lawsuit, which claims the purchase agreement allows for cancellation and a full refund in the event that the jet's final price is raised. Sutphin claims the refund was due on Aug. 1, and filed the lawsuit on Aug. 5. He also says that since filing the claim, he's heard from other buyers.

An earlier lawsuit filed against Eclipse disputes billing for an aircraft scheduled for delivery in October, but the Journal speculates that Stuphin's suit may be the first of its kind. Eclipse had been building about three aircraft per day prior to its recent layoff of about 650 of its roughly 1750 employees.