If someone gave me $500 to hold a motorcycle that’s for sale and then changes their mind, do they get their money back?

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If someone gave me $500 to hold a motorcycle that’s for sale and then changes their mind, do they get their money back?

I have my motorcycle for sale. This guy said that he wantedit for sure and gave me $500 to hold it for him and remove it from sale status. He asked me to hold onto the key so that I didn’t ride it while he was getting the money for it. 1 week later, henoe says that he doesn’t want it anymore and won’t give me the key until he gets his money back.

Asked on August 31, 2010 under Business Law, Alaska

Answers:

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

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Generally speaking, if a deposit on something is "non-refundable" then it has to say so in writing and signed by the "party to be charged." In other words, it has to be written down somewhere on something so that you can prove that the other party knew or should have known. Without a doubt you had a contract.  An oral contract. And he has breached the terms by refusing to pay the full amount.  You could sue him for the money and to enforce the contract.  If you just want your key back then give him back his deposit.  Let this be a good lesson: never, ever give someone the key to anything you own without a contract in writing and full payment.  Good luck.


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