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LegalGems
LegalGems, Lawyer
Category: Consumer Protection Law
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I put a china cabinet on layaway at a consignment shop, they

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I put a china cabinet on layaway at a consignment shop, they asked for a down payment of $200 and gave me three months to pay the balance. I left a deposit of $400 leaving me a balance of $1200. I returned in two weeks to pick up the cabinet and was told the owner came and picked it up. I was given back my deposit and was later told by a store employee that the cabinet had been sold to someone who came in and paid cash for it. What are my rights?

LegalGems :

Hi! LegalGems here. I have extensive consumer law experience and will use this to assist you with your issue today. I am sorry to hear of this. Was there any written documents that accompanied the transaction? Or was this verbal?

Customer:

Yes there was a receipt of my down payment that also stated the amount of time I had to retrieve the cabinet which was 3 months.

LegalGems :

OK. So the buyer can bring an action for breach of contract (oral contracts are enforceable, just hard to prove, so the receipt helps).

LegalGems :

In a breach of contract cause of action, the buyer can request monetary damages (return of monies paid or the difference in the contract price and the price of purchasing a similar item from another party) or specific performance- the enforcement of the contract as written - ie a request that the seller retrieve and return the item to the store so the buyer can obtain possession.

LegalGems :

If the new buyer is an innocent third party (no idea of the prior deal) generally courts are reluctant to order specific performance because it penalizes the innocent third party. So generally a judge would award the difference in price - say you found this furniture elsewhere for $2,000, then the damages would be $400.

Customer:

The seller returned my down payment, but I would rather him return the cabinet and I would be willing to pay full price as it was a used cabinet and it is unlikely I will find another. Can I still sue for breach of contract? This appears to be his normal way of taking care of business, he has done this to others. How can I attempt to make him think twice before taking advantage of another customer? Can he bring any actions against me if I hand out flyers of his wrong doings?

LegalGems :

Yes you can still sue for breach of contract as it is possible the judge will order specific performance. You should also have back up estimates of replacement cost of the most similar item you can find, so that you may recover that difference. If someone publicly disparages another, they are exposing themselves to a defamation lawsuit-while truth is a defense, it can be an expensive defense!

Customer:

Thank you so much for you legal advice. You have been very helpful.

LegalGems :

You are very welcome. You may first want to try writing a letter demanding the return of the cabinet consistent with the terms of the agreement - and perhaps the owner will attempt this in order to avoid a lawsuit, especially if this is his modus operandi so to speak.

Customer:

This is my first time using this website and would definitely use it again if the need arises. I will also spread the word that it exist. However, I am not interested in incurring a monthly charge for the services at this time. I rated your service excellent. Thanks again.

LegalGems :

Thank you for rating me as excellent. Much appreciated. I am an end user and customer service is a separate department (I have no control over billing). Do you have their contact info?

LegalGems and other Consumer Protection Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.


Yes.

Perfect. Thanks. They are great with working with customers, as we want our customers to be happy! So if there is any problem I'm sure they'll work with you.

Should you need future assistance, in the legal categories, feel free to request me by putting To Legal Gems in front of the question and I will responda as soon as I see it.

Thanks!