Sacramento, CA asked in Contracts, Real Estate Law and Business Formation for California

Q: Can a business owner keep my deposit if we needed more time in order to buy the business but she sell it to someone else

We put in a deposit to buy a business but due to unforseen circumstance at my work, I need more time before I can quit my job and start the business. There was no agreement signed stating that the deposit was non refundable but she refused to refund my money and is planning to sell to someone else. She has not shown us her book or any proof of her income or have signed any paperwork yet but is refusing to return my money because we could not start on the date as stated. She has stated that we can start the business anytime because she is not going anywhere and there's no time limit and if we want to buy it then we need to give her some money to hold it, which we did. But now she wants to sell to someone else and still keep portion of our money. Does she have the right? Please advise.

Thank you,


1 Lawyer Answer
Yelena Gurevich
Yelena Gurevich
  • Studio City, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: it's generally not a good idea to give anyone a deposit without a written contract. at this point you will either need to pay a business attorney for a complete consultation and advice or possibly take your chances in small claims court (if the amount is under $10,000).

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