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CounselorJim, Lawyer
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Satisfied Customers: 360
Experience:  I've worked for a large company for 8 years, and regularly deal with the terms under which goods and services are provided.
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What course of action can I take with a Gunshop that kept all

Resolved Question:

What course of action can I take with a Gunshop that kept all the money from a consignment sale of my firearm? The agreement was that the gunshop would sell my firearm and keep only 20-25% of the total sale price. The remaining balance would be paid to me.

Background: Gave 5 firearms to this gunshop to sell for me last May. Within a month 4 of the 5 firearms was sold. Gunshop paid me 75% of the total sale. I left the remaining 1 firearm with them to sell. In July, 2011 I purchased a new firearm from this gunshop. The purchase price was $1400 and I gave them a $200 deposit until the 10 day waiting period. After 10 days and returned and paid the $1200 remaining balance and picked up the firearm.

Yesterday I went into the gunshop and asked if they sold my remaining firearm. The told me that they sold it last week for $300. I thought it was odd that they did not notify me. I asked them for my share of the money and they told me that I still owed them $200 for the deposit 10 months ago because they claim that their computer system went down and my $200 payment did not go through. They claim that they tried to call me in September (2 months after the sale). I asked why they never said anything during the multiple times I've been in the gunshop during the last 10 months. I reallly questioned the validity of there explanation, but I said that would have to research if I was ever charged the $200. In the mean time I asked what about the remaing $100 of the $300 sale. They said that 25% fee is $75 and also that they needed to pay someone $40 to shorted the barrel of my firearm to sell. In their minds that would eliminate the $25 that was due to me ($225-$200=$25) so they would not pay me anything.

I am not in agreement with them telling me that I owe them $200 after 10 months after I pick up my new firearm.
Even more I am very upset that they are charging me for a decision that they made on their own and didn't consult with me (shorting of the barrel).
It seems like there is something wrong with a consignment sale of $300 and I am getting 0% of the sale.

What legal actions can I take? Are there any consumers laws that can help me collect my money owed to me?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Expert:  CounselorJim replied 5 years ago.

CounselorJim :

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?


CounselorJim :

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.


CounselorJim :

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.


CounselorJim :

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.


Customer: Yes, I do have an invoice/receipt from them stating the $200 deposit and also an invoice/receipt for the balance being paid. Yesterday they showed their computer records showing that I owe $200 from that transaction. I'm guessing they changed my records when their computer system went down.
Customer: It was a verbal agreement that did not state they would/could alter the firearm to sale. And certainly no additional charges other than the 25% consignment fee.
Customer: Yes, I agree that is strange. They had several opportunities to tell me before yesterday. According to them, they tried to contact me 2 months after I picked up the new firearm.
Customer: If I have the invoices that state that I have paid in full, what is the best way to seek collection of my consignment sale?
CounselorJim :

I'm typing in Word as its easier, and will paste in what I have in a moment.

CounselorJim :

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.


Customer: Did not get your reply completely.

got it. thanks

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