The question arises, Do you have proof of the $200 deposit payment made to the shop? A receipt, a bill of sale for the gun , saying "paid $1,400," or a credit card bill or a cancelled check?
As far as the $40 goes, we would look at the terms of the agreement for selling the guns on consignment that you had with the shop as to whether the shop can decide to shorten the barrel in order to make the sale.
Assuming the shop can do that under the agreement, and you may have wanted him to do it in order to complete the sale, then unless the agreement says otherwise that $40 should come off of the total amount received. So it would be $300 - $40 = $260, and you would be owed $195 and the shop would keep $65.
It is very strange that the shop's computer was down, and it didn't receive the $200 deposit, and then did not mention that when you picked up the gun and paid only $1,200. That would have been the appropriate time to mention that the computer had been down and that the deposit was not received.
I'm typing in Word as its easier, and will paste in what I have in a moment.
Let's not get too distracted by the $40 barrel shortening. It's a $30 difference to you, and having nothing stated in the agreement about shortening, doesn't mean anything good or bad. Had the shop not agreed to shorten the barrel the sale might not have occurred. In our arguments we'll ask for the $225 that would be owed from the $300 sale, but if you can get $195 in order to resolve the issue, that would be fair unless the agreement between you was that the shop was not to sell the firearm for less than $300 without your consent.
You are right about the California Attorney General, you can make an online complaint here:
The Attorney General will forward the complaint to the shop and instruct the shop to resolve the issue with you or justify its position. If its resolved, that's wonderful. If not, you will have the shop's justification as to why it doesn't owe you the money, which is a blueprint of what the shop will say in court. If you have your receipt and the shop has its computer screen print out, both can be presented to the judge with your stories and the judge will have to decide who is right, and who is out $200.
Already greatly in your favor is the actions of the parties. You acted like someone who thought his gun was still for sale in a consignment shop, while the shop made a sale and didn't bother to send you an invoice, even if the invoice showed that $0 was owed because of the previous $200 "debt" that it thought that you owed. the shop was conspicuously quiet about this until you bought it up which is inconsistent with the actions of a business that is acting in good faith.
Small claims court is informal and designed to be used by non-lawyers, and while the court clerk cannot give legal advice, the clerk is great at walking people through the process. More information about small claims court is also available at the CA Consumer Affairs website, here:
Your claim would be for breach of contract, as you had an agreement (whether written or verbal), and under that agreement the shop had a duty or obligation to pay you 75% of the sale price of the firearm, the shop failed to perform this duty, and this failure created damages to you ,as you are out the $225.
got it. thanks
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