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I own a business that resells to the public. My supplier messed

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I own a business that resells to the public. My supplier messed up the order, admitted fault and responded (email) that they would refund my cost with them AND my labor AND related costs. They just responded they offer me a refund of just what I invoiced with them.
It was clear that I was going to refund my customer to protect my image. If I refuse the less than satisfactory refund, can I sue for defamation of character and recoup all of my expenses + defamation damage? I asked why they were not following up with what they promised, their answer was "I shouldn't have sent that".
Thank You

Hello Lou,

My name isXXXXX a licensed attorney. Glad to try and help out.

Sure sorry for the circumstances, truly. My heart goes out to you.

Accordingly, I'm pleased to share the following information. You can certainly sue for breach of contract. That much is an easy call. In terms of tort law, that is more of a gray area. Specifically, you would need to prove the elements codified at California Civil Code §§ 44, 45a, and 46. I provided these provisions (below) for reference. But, it boils down to these five elements:

(1) publication (meaning dissemination, sharing with at least one other person, need not be publication in the formal, traditional sense of the word) of a factual statement;

(2) that is false;

(3) unprivileged;

(4) naturally tends to injure or cause "special damage";

(5) with the defendant's fault constituting at least the threshold of negligence.

Now, having carefully considered everything you've shared, here is my best recommendation. There are some instances where going forward without legal counsel is a viable option. This is not one of them, however, and in all candor proceeding as a pro perlitigant would not be advisable here, which I realize of course you realize. So, your next step at this juncture is to confer with legal counsel, but the good news is that process is entirely free of charge to you. I can only imagine what a stressful and trying time this is for you, so please believe me I mean it when I say I am glad to say there is a way to seek justice without having the burden of trying to pay attorneys' fees .

To help folks in this online venue, I am required to follow site rules including refraining from accepting cases and/or making direct referrals to named attorneys. However, I can tell you where I would turn were I in your very shoes. Toward that end, my very next step would be to take advantage of the resources of the non-profit, American Bar Association accredited, National Board of Trial Advocacy Division of the National Board of Legal Specialty Certification. Here is a listing of all such Board Certified Civil Trial Advocates practicing in your jurisdiction (please just click the following link):


These folks would generally be regarded as the cream of the crop, so to speak, and I believe your best chance of securing competent advice and counsel lies in this database, which is also officially endorsed by the State Bar of California. This is a process that can only be accomplished by making contact with a law firm, as I've outlined. Nothing will change without exploring your options, so I would encourage you to do so as your next step to standing up for yourself.

If you have a follow-up question or need clarification, please just say the word by using "reply" to reach me.

You deserve to be treated properly, and I truly hope all works out for you.

Take care,

Ben, J.D.

44. Defamation is effected by either of the following: (a) Libel. (b) Slander.

45. Libel is a false and unprivileged publication by writing,printing, picture, effigy, or other fixed representation to the eye,which exposes any person to hatred, contempt, ridicule, or obloquy,or which causes him to be shunned or avoided, or which has a tendency to injure him in his occupation.

45a. A libel which is defamatory of the plaintiff without the necessity of explanatory matter, such as an inducement, innuendo or other extrinsic fact, is said to be a libel on its face. Defamatory language not libelous on its face is not actionable unless the plaintiff alleges and proves that he has suffered special damage as approximate result thereof. Special damage is defined in Section 48aof this code.

46. Slander is a false and unprivileged publication, orally uttered, and also communications by radio or any mechanical or other means which: 1. Charges any person with crime, or with having been indicted,convicted, or punished for crime; 2. Imputes in him the present existence of an infectious,contagious, or loathsome disease; 3. Tends directly to injure him in respect to his office,profession, trade or business, either by imputing to him general disqualification in those respects which the office or other occupation peculiarly requires, or by imputing something with reference to his office, profession, trade, or business that has a natural tendency to lessen its profits; 4. Imputes to him impotence or a want of chastity; or 5. Which, by natural consequence, causes actual damage.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Hi Ben, Thank You for the response.

Maybe it is defamation, maybe not, I'm not sure. Maybe you can provide insight of how or what to proceed for my damages. I supply uniforms to little leagues. My supplier decorated the back, upon receiving them from my supplier, I then decorate the front. Of course, each player has a different name/#. Supplier issues include: wrong names, wrong colors, wrong sizes. This is what I received from the supplier after a lengthy battle: "Option #2: Complete Refund plus the tackle twill reimbursement and labor – our controller would need an itemized list of the cost of each embellishment (for the front) and the amount of labor hours.", I wrote:

This goes beyond just replacement, with my hand being forced with sub-par items, and having to meet a deadline, all the fronts were printed and handed to the league.

I would like to speak with you about all this. At some point we have to make a financially smart decision. At this point, I am considering a full credit to the league. Supplier responded:

"I spoke with my manager and whatever you decide to do, we will accommodate. In addition, we will provide an apology letter stating that Teamwork was responsible for the defective items."


They asked for an itemized cost (on my end), it ended up being $8,000+ (which included the $2,700 I paid them). They offered me $2,700 refund of purchase + $800 damages. "As we discussed, we apologize profusely for all the troubles that you have had with our Stock Decoration Offering. We take pride in providing our customers with a great service experience with all our product lines and it is clear that there were several service breakdowns for your Stock Decoration order. We are moving forward with issuing you a full refund for the decorated product (for the amount you have paid) for all the issues you have experienced with your large stock decoration order. The refund will be for the amount of $2,652.70 on the following (and attached) invoices; in addition, we are offering you extra compensation for this entire situation and will be issuing a total credit of $3,500.


This seems very inadequate based on what they originally promised, what I have lost, 290 children that had to proceed with opening ceremony with uniforms that didn't match (a lot of angry parents) + MY REPUTATION.


Sorry to ramble. Hopefully this can clear a path for an accurate opinion from you.



Hello again Lou,

Thanks for writing back..great to hear from you!

You are most pleasure entirely!

It makes my day to know that my answers have been helpful to you. I do thank you so much for taking the time to express your appreciation with such kind words.

You didn't ramble at all. In fact, I think you're quite articulate and did a great job of explaining the situation. Here are my thoughts, and I'm right with you here. This is about the size of it. You have a ton of work invested here. I'm not in your industry, but common sense tells me that this sort of individual, personalized work is a far cry from a "cookie cutter" sort of mass production. Also, you mentioned your professional reputation, and yes that's absolutely relevant. Defamation law speaks of a few situations where traditionally the cases tend to succeed. These include things like falsely claiming a person committed a criminal offense (or something else notorious) as well as business losses. In fact, there's a tort called "disparagement", meaning you can recover for the damage done to your good name. Furthermore, you're the one dealing with irate parents, not your supplier who dropped the ball. I know that folks tend to take their kids' sports participation very seriously, so I can only imagine some of the "pleasant" phone calls and/or emails you've been receiving. Finally, you have some rather valuable evidence by way of the emails from the supplier. '"Profusely apologizing" sure sounds like an admission of fault to me.

So, in terms of dollars, the very absolute least that makes sense to me would be full restitution, meaning the $8,000+. That would be a concession on your part, to avoid the hassle of litigation, but obviously you wouldn't be compensated for less tangible losses such as the damage to your professional reputation and so forth. I'll tell you what, I would just tell them they are way, way far off on their offer. It's downright laughable, and I wouldn't shy away from using that term. If they refuse to step up to the plate, then your options come down to pursuing civil litigation.

Hang in there...I truly hope much brighter days await you!

Best regards,

Ben, J.D.

LawHelpNow and 3 other Legal Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Finally, I can get something done online that is productive! The 1st thing I ask your opinion of is: upon there original (and still present, only) offer, is that it is "firm", and then they followed with an email that states the refund will be issued by "EOD tomorrow". I told them upon the offer that I do not want them to credit my account or credit card as I do not accept there offer at this time. I am assuming that if I deny refund for that amount that I will most likely forfeit the offered refund and only recover $ (if any) in a civil suit. Does this sound correct?

Thank You again Ben

Hi Lou,
Again, my pleasure, and I'm just very happy our service is helpful to you!
Yes, I do think you've got it right, as follows. You did the right thing by saying you decline or refuse the credit to your account. That was right on point, not accepting their offer, which is rather anemic to but it mildly. So, yes, it does come down to a choice of either accept what they're willing to pay or go to Court. The former offers certainty -- you know exactly what you're getting. But, on the other hand, you're not satisfied with what you would be receiving. The latter offers greater recovery opportunity -- you can request not only what you've lost out of pocket but also compensation for other losses such as we discussed. However, on the flip side, even with the strong of cases there's never any guarantees with litigation.
In the final analysis, it comes down to two things primarily, namely: (1) what you're willing and comfortable accepting; and (2) what they're willing and comfortable offering. If you can't meet somewhere in the middle that's mutually acceptable, you're looking at litigation.
It's been a pleasure interacting with you, and I'm always glad to do anything else I can. I wanted to let you know I'm signing off soon for the night. However, you have my word that I'll be sure to check back for any updated word from you when I log on tomorrow.
Kind regards,
Ben, J.D.
Hello Lou,

I enjoyed working with you recently.

How are things going?

Is there anything else I can do to help?

Please just let me know.


Ben, J.D.