If I entered into a consignment agreement with a local retailer for sale of a saddle, how long can the consignee hold my money after the sale?

The agreement states “all sales transacted at that date are forwarded to our bookkeeper for processing. Checks are issued following submission to the bookkeeper”. I was immediately aware of when the saddle sold. I was told the information went to the bookkeeper and I would be receiving a check. Next I was told it would take 2-3 weeks. At 2 weeks after sale I again inquired as to when I would be getting my check, I was told 3-4 weeks. What can I do to get payment?

Asked on September 9, 2011 under Business Law, Oregon

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

At some point, if not paid and it appears that they don't intend to pay, you can sue; that, unfortunately, would be the only way to get your money, if they don't voluntarily come forward with it. When exactly that points comes--when you should sue--is not clear, since matters of payment timing are ordinarily governed by contract; the law does not specify a time frame or deadline, but rather, it's what the parties agree to. Unfortunately, from what you write, your agreement with the retailer was either silent or ambiguous on this subject, so it is not clear exactly when the retailer would be late or in default on its obligation to pay you. When you can't wait any longer and don't think they'll pay, that's when to sue; you can sue in small claims court, where you don't need an attorney, to keep costs down.


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