Can the store sue my husband for their mistake if they gave him the wrong merchandise?

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Can the store sue my husband for their mistake if they gave him the wrong merchandise?

My husband had two jewelry lay-a-ways at a major discount store. We went to pick up the smaller lay a way and after we had left the store discovered that the associate gave us the more expensive lay-a-way. Now the store is calling and threatening to take action against him if he does not bring the lay a way back or bring in the difference. What legal action can they take against him?

Asked on December 19, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, Tennessee

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

They can sue him if he doesn't return or pay for the item. A mistake does *not* give someone else ownership over property or the right to keep it. If he received the wrong item, he needs to return it to the store, if he's not going to pay the difference; at that time, they will either provide him the correct item or return his money and rescind the transaction if for some reason they no longer have it. He unfortunately has no right to keep the more expensive one, which he has not paid for.

Moreover, if he knowingly keeps an item which he has not paid for, that could constitute theft; your husband could potentially face criminal liability, too.

 


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