If an item is appraised for a range of values instead of an exact value, for what value do I sue?

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If an item is appraised for a range of values instead of an exact value, for what value do I sue?

I have to file a civil complaint against someone I know for something I purchased that he refuses to return. I had the item appraised so I can properly fill out the legal form. I was given a range of values, so what do I list as the value of the item? (Note: I actually just want the item itself returned, but the form asks for the value.) Should I list the amount that I paid? The amount the seller was asking? (I bargained him down hundreds of dollars.) The lower value of the appraised range? The higher value of the appraised range?

Asked on September 7, 2010 under Bankruptcy Law, Virginia

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

There is a saying that an item is worth only what a person will actually pay for it.  Even if you list an item for an appraised value - often a range depending on what the economy will bear - what you ultimately sell it for is the only real basis you have to establish true value.  If he were suing you because of a problem with the item and wanted his money back he could not use the appraised value, could he?  He could only use the amount he actually paid for the item (and maybe court fees and shipping fees).  So I would use the amount paid.  Be careful where you sue (I mean in what court).  Some courts do not have the power to grant equitable relief only monetary relief.  Good luck.


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