Can an international customer of a small business be sued for non-payment?

I run a small webstore based in the U.S., and an Australian customer made a purchase. Due to unforeseen circumstances, my website went down while his package was in transit. Rather than attempting to contact me directly, he filed a claim with PayPal. Even after getting in touch with him explain what happened, he did not stop the claim. PayPal sided with him, despite having tracking information showing that the package was delivered. I also have emails from him saying he would resubmit the payment after the claim was fully processed. He has disappeared now. Can I sue him to get my money back?

Asked on September 3, 2011 under Business Law, Texas


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

In this country if any person or business enters into an agreement (or does some tortious conduct) and fails to pay for the item agreed to be paid, the person who is owed the money can bring a lawsuit for moneys owed.

The challenge for you is not really finding the proper venue to bring the lawsuit (location of where the action would be filed) in that most likely it would be in the county and state where you live, but serving the person with the filed action (usual method for out of state entity or person is via certified mail return receipt requested), but collecting upon any judgment that you may obtain since the target defendant is in Australia.

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