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Jane T (LLC)
Jane T (LLC), Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 8435
Experience:  Worked in corporation's law department; business formations, formalities, and other business matters
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Hello, I have a question about small business ...

Resolved Question:

Hello, I have a question about small business contracts~privately owned consignment store . I signed a legal contract with the store, it did not state anything about verbal agreements/contracts. But, I did sign a business policy contract; with the owner of the business. The items I brought in were of a higher value than most of the other items; I asked her several questions regarding their time frames about price drops, and when items became their property rather than mine. Thank you for any advise you may have for me.
Submitted: 9 years ago.
Category: Business Law
Expert:  Jane T (LLC) replied 9 years ago.


What is the conflict you are having with the store?

I read your information that indicates (1) the business policy contract you signed did not say anything about verbal agreements or contracts; (2) some of the items you brought in were of a higher value then others; and (3) you asked questions about price drops and their timing.

What is your question?

Customer: replied 9 years ago.
I signed their store written contract. Several modifications were made verbally; I'm wondering where I stand legally when verbal agreements were breached.
Expert:  Jane T (LLC) replied 9 years ago.


The general rule in contract law is that a written contract normally takes precedence over any verbal understandings or other agreements that are not written into the contract. Although you say your contract did not contain any notice of verbal agreements or contracts, just because those words were not used may not mean the contract does not address them in a way which specifies they are not to be considered part of the contract. Many contracts include a provision in them indicating that the contract, as signed, is the "complete agreement" of the parties or other words to that effect which are normally interpreted to mean that there are no other "agreements," "conditions," or understandings between the parties.

Many persons do not realize that when they sign a contract their "rights" mainly are those stated in the contract itself. In most cases, unless a consumer protection law or the circumstances of an agreement prove otherwise, therefore, the right of a party who signs a contract are those specified in the contract and not those which may be spoken about or discussed either prior to or after signing a contract. This is one of the reasons why it is so important for people to fully read a contract before signing it, even if the party who gives them the contract to sign explains the contract or otherwise indicates what it "says."

However, in certain situations, there may be an ability for a consumer to require a retailer to abide by other promises or agreements made, particularly if a consumer has been mislead or a retailers has misrepresented information about matters to a consumer. It will depend on the facts involved, and a written contract may prevail in most situations, but it is not a guarantee.

Every state has consumer protection laws which consumers may learn about through contacting either their state's attorney general's office or, in some cases, a state has a "consumer protection" office or bureau that handles such matters. Consumers can normally contact their attorney general's or other consumer protection offices to discuss problems they are having with retailers, service providers, or other businesses to obtain information on what they can do and what protections they have under their state's laws and to, if they wish, file a complaint against the business that may then have the attorney general or the consumer protection office investigate the business and/or situation.

If you can tell me what state you are in I can provide you with a link to your state's AG or consumer protection office.

Customer: replied 9 years ago.
Reply to Jane T (LLC)'s Post: I am working with the BBB now, they are sending their 3rd and I believe last notification at this time. I have consulted varous agencies/offices and found the process frustrating to negotiate.
The business is in Maryland. I know I was so stupid to not have the verbal agreements listed on the contract. I probably wouldn't pursue this but the dispute is over 3 handbags: 1 Coach, 1 LV, and 1 Isabella Fiore. The total retail would be over 1500, I am trying to get either the purses back or the money that was agreed upon for their value. The contract also says if the items are sold the consignee would receive their money at the end of that month or that donations slips can be picked up at the store upon request. She has said that she could not find the items and she would look for them, but they were probably donated or sold. My sister-in-law picked up some jewelry pieces which hadn't sold, and the owner at the shop naturally needed to see the original contract before giving her the items; the store owner wrote she could not find the items and she would look for them, but they were probably donated or sold on the contract. The reason I did not pick them up myself is that this took place in MD and I live in NC. I know where I live isn't her problem, but is it why some of the changes to the contract were made. When I tried to talk to the store owner AFTER the jewelry was picked up she was totally unwilling to discuss anything, telling me that her husband is an attorney with the Justice Department and she knew how to handle these problems. She she said if I tried to contact her again she 'would call the authorities' and tell them I was harassing her.
Customer: replied 9 years ago.
I know where I live isn't her problem, but is it why some of the changes to the contract were made.
SHOULD read .........but it is why some of the changes to the contract were made.
Expert:  Jane T (LLC) replied 9 years ago.


I could not read someone's mind to know their reasons for doing anything.

You say you have contacted the BBB, however, as (based on what you say) I assume at the time you signed the agreement you were in MD, you may need to contact the MD offices of the attorney general as, normally, the location where a person is when they enter an agreement, unless the contract itself says otherwise, is the location whose laws apply. You may want to see if you can pursue a small claims case against her for the cost of the bags to see if, based on your contract and interactions and those of your sister in law, the court may be able to award you something.

Jane T (LLC) and other Business Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 9 years ago.
Reply to Jane T (LLC)'s Post: I received your latest response, thank you. I still need to clarify a couple things regarding this question; but have to leave my computer for today. I will respond to your reply as soon as possible tomorrow.
Customer: replied 9 years ago.
Just for future infomation. I did feel like I was asked to ACCEPT your assistance after JUST receiving a links. I did get more information after asking for more.