Ellicott City, MD asked in Consumer Law, Contracts, Criminal Law and Animal / Dog Law for Maryland

Q: How should I go about getting my deposit back from a a breeder who refused for follow through with obligations

A breeder required 300$ down payment to guarantee a puppy. He promised to send pictures of the female bluenose pitbull puppy, a copy of lineage and shot paperwork, and receipt for payment. After days of me attempting to contact him he refused to respond or and phone calls and texts. He than texts me after I threatened to notify authorities and a lawyer and stated he would send me the deposit back but had to wait till Monday morning when the bank opens. I then notify him I will sue him for my refund, court fees, and personal/psychological damages as he has caused me so much stress by ripping me off. Do I have a case? I have text messages from the Breeder stating all of the above. I also want to know if I am able to call the police?

2 Lawyer Answers
Mark Oakley
Mark Oakley
Answered
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Rockville, MD
  • Licensed in Maryland

A: No police, he has committed no crime, they will do nothing for you. No basis to sue, he has not breached the agreement yet to provide you with a pitbull puppy. Unless you have a contract that states when he was supposed to provide you with pictures and paperwork, then the issue of whether he has breached that part of the contract will depend on what a court finds to be a "reasonable time", which depends on the specific facts and circumstances, what is normal and expected with these types of contracts, what specific representations were made about the time frames for compliance, etc. A "few days" passage of time is never going to be deemed material enough to justify a declaration of breach of contract and right to receive a full refund. Finally, Maryland law does not permit award of damages for psychological or emotional injury arising out of a breach of contract. You can only sue for return of your money. Since you have documented both your and his agreement to terminate the contract and receive a refund of your money, if he has failed to refund you within a "reasonable time" then you can sue him in small claims court for the $300, plus court costs, but no more.

Eric Todd Kirk
Eric Todd Kirk
Answered
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Baltimore, MD
  • Licensed in Maryland

A: Your initial instinct that this is a civil case appears correct. I would suggest not calling the police. I would further suggest sending in the demand outlining your damages to the at-fault party. Should they be unwilling be to negotiate, I would suggest consulting with a civil litigation lawyer in your jurisdiction. Best of luck.

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