If someone is claiming an item I sold them online never arrived, how can I defend myself?

UPDATED: Nov 16, 2011

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If someone is claiming an item I sold them online never arrived, how can I defend myself?

They are threatening to sue me and contact the police. What can they legally do to hurt me over $350? They are threatening to hire a lawyer and bill me $200 per hour, as well as launch a full investigation. Can they collect this level of legal fees for a small claims court case? What can I do to prove my innocence, other than a post office receipt, I have no tracking number as the buyer requested regular shipping? Can I make the argument that they could just as easily be lying to me about not receiving the item? I am over 18, but can they go after my parents as I am still a student dependent?

Asked on November 16, 2011 under Business Law, California


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Okay so calm down.  Take a deep breath.  You just learned a lesson on business to always make sure that a package is sent where you can track it and if a person does not want to pay the extra money for it then they really don't want the product.  First of all, you are right: you have a receipt showing that it was mailed and for all you know they are lying about receiving the product.  So that is the stand you will be taking here and take it boldly.  Did you by any chance pay for insurance for the item?  The post office does insure up to a certain amount of money without your having to buy additional insurance but I doubt that it is $350. Look in to it.  And go and speak with your parents.  You are an adult and the responsible party but they need to know and help.  It is okay.  This is how you learn.  Good luck.

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