Canoga Park, CA asked in Contracts for California

Q: consignee refuses to return precious jewelry and an antique clock worth $7,000 I was out of country for one year

We had a verbal agreement to keep items until they sold. Now they claim I Abandoned them What Cal. Agency must I complain to?

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3 Lawyer Answers
Maurice Mandel II
Maurice Mandel II
Answered
  • Newport Beach, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: I am not aware of any public agency that would assist you in such a claim. If you involve the Police on a claim of theft, they will most likely tell you it is a commercial dispute. $7000 is within the jurisdiction of the Small Claims court. Before you go there you need to take all evidence you have of the ownership of the property, its deposit with the Consignment company, and the value of the property. You have the burden of proof on all of these issues by a preponderance of the evidence. You might want to contact a local attorney and pay them to prepare a brief with your documentation attached for the Court.

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John Francis Nicholson
John Francis Nicholson
Answered
  • Woodland Hills, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: I agree with Mr. Mandell. Also, you can contact the Better Business Bureau; however, the California Department of Consumer Affairs has teeth if you file a claim with them because it is business related.

Nathan Wirtschafter
Nathan Wirtschafter
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Encino, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: As stated by the other attorneys, this is appears to be a civil dispute which belongs in court.

In Premchand v. Mohammed 2005 WL 705304 (Unpublished), a diamond merchant sold another diamond merchant over $1.1 million in diamonds on consignment. The trial court entered judgment in favor of Seller for breach of contract and conversion. Buyer was required to pay damages of $987K, pre-judgment interest of $419K and court costs.

Also, remember that there is a two-year statute of limitations on oral contracts. (Code Civ. Proc. 339, subd. 1). You may also have a statute of frauds issue. (Commercial Code 2201).

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