Do I have a shot at getting some of my money back regarding an evicted from my space at a vendor show?

I was invited to do a vendor show; I had a verbal agreement that I would be there. I did not receive an application and 5 weeks before the show I was replaced. When I did get the application, there was no deadline stated in which to return it as well as no deadline in any of the correspondence between myself and the party in which invited me. As I thought my spot was reserved I went ahead and purchased products, demos, samples and printed material to bring to the show in excess of $400. They now will not answer any attempt on my part to resolve this issue and I am stuck with this inventory (or at least if I return the parts I can will cost me a small fortune in shipping fees). Is there any legal standing I might have in a small claims court venue?

Asked on October 25, 2011 under Business Law, Illinois


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

You *may* have grounds to sue for the recovery of your cost. If they represented to you that your spot was reserved--i.e. there was some objective basis for thinking it was reserved--and it was reasonable for you to rely on that representation; you spent money or took other actions to your detriment based on that reasonable reliance; and they knew, should have known, or reasonably could have predicted that you would spend money, etc., based on their representation; then that may be enough to find an enforceable obligation on them, and give your grounds to sue for its breach. For $400+, you should consider bringing a legal action, based on "detrimental reliance" or "promissory estoppel," in small claims court, where you can act as your own attorney. Good luck.

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