How to get paid money thatI am owed from a now closed business?

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How to get paid money thatI am owed from a now closed business?

Approximately 2 1/2 years ago I consigned some items to sell. All my items sold, however I was paid only a portion. The shop has since closed. I am owed a balance.The woman claims she doesn’t have the money. She says, “if I had the money I’d give it to you”. I have called her alot. She lives a few towns away from me. I want to meet with her to go over my sales slips, as she doesn’t know the balance of what she owes me. I have a list of the items she took with her signature on it but I keep getting the run around. She is elderly and in poor health. What are my rights?

Asked on October 23, 2010 under General Practice, Massachusetts

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Rights and practicalities are too very different things. Your right is to be paid the amount that contractually, under the terms by which your items were sold, the amount due you. However, the question is, can you recover it? If you are not paid what you should have been, your recourse is to sue for the balance; however--

1) If the shop was an LLC (limited liability company) or corporation, the owner is not personally liable; you could only sue the business, not the owner. If the business has been dissolved, there is nothing to sue; if it hasn't been dissolved but is out of business and does not have assets, you technically can sue it, but there's nothing to collect.

2) If the business was a sole proprietorship, the owner would be liable the business's debts; however, if she is elderly and in poor health, if she personally have few if any assets and little or no income, even if you sued her and won, there may be no money for you.


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