I am sorry to hear this; fortunately small claims is designed as the people's court-essentially an expedited and simplified legal process by which one can sue another for wrongfully withheld property.
Basically, oral and written contracts are both enforceable, they just need to be proven. A written contract would require a copy of the contract; an oral contract would allow for evidence to be introduced such as declarations/affidavits, emails, texts, etc.
If a person is in wrongful possession of another's property, that cause of action is wrongful conversion.
In both situations, the purpose of the court is to restore the plaintiff to the position s/he would have been in prior to such action by the defendant that resulted in the filing of a suit.
Judges prefer it if a demand letter, requesting the desired relief, is sent (certified mail with receipt so proof of sending it can be provided); normally there is a date that is stated, stating that the party will pursue their legal remedies should the recipient of the letter fail to rectify the situation.
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Information provided is for educational purposes only. Consultation with a personal attorney is always recommended so your particular facts may be considered. Thank you and take care.