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Irwin Law
Irwin Law, Attorney
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Experience:  Lawyer & Real Estate Broker, 30+ years, foreclosure, land contracts, inheritance, probate.
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My husband and I donate thousands of dollars of bicycles and

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My husband and I donate thousands of dollars of bicycles and accessories to the local police bicycle rodeo each year. The bikes are won in a random drawing, no money changes hands. This is a way for underprivileged youth in the area to get better, safer cycling equipment. Last year however we handed out certificates instead of an actual bike so the kids could come in and pick which bike they wanted. We shop all year for clearance specials so we can bring in nice bicycles especially for this event that were around $150 in value instead of the $300 bikes that we normally sell. The certificate says, for example "This cert is good for a bike for a 7-8 year old girl with a value not to exceed $175" Last year there were a few bikes left over, some people did not turn in their certificates. We donated the left over bicycles to a local needy family for Christmas. Last week a guy walks in demanding his free bike. He produced the certificate with last year's date on it. It did not have an expiration date. There was a piece of paper in the gift cert envelope that said the bike must be from our inventory, no special orders. We only had one bike in inventory that met the criteria, we do not normally carry youth bikes of this price range, as we buy them especially for the rodeo. The customer turned his nose up at the bike we had in stock. We told him that was the only one we had and he started slamming his fists on the counter "i'll tell all my friends that you won't honor the gift cert" etc. And now I hear that he is going to go to the New York attorney general. Does he even have a case? I think since he did not want the bike we had in stock then he basically forfeighted the cert. I am also thinking I will get a $60 bike from Target that will fit an 8 yr old girl and give that to him, he will turn that down as well.. I'm not sure what I can even do here or what our obligation would be. This was a charity event for pete's sakes!

Hello. I can't imagine the NY AG getting all excited over an unhappy recipient of a gift certificate. He has no case. None, and won't get the time of day from any public official. If it wouldn't make you feel like you are giving in to legal blackmail, I'd say that the $60 bike for the girl fits your generous nature. You would be doing a great thing for the child, whose life is probably not pleasant being as her father is a jerk. Or perhaps give him certificate No. 1 for the next bike give away and tell him to be sure to show up on time for this one. Good luck and God bless you for your generosity.

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