Is it legal for a liquor distribution company to not sell product to my liquor store, because the previous entity at the location owed money?

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Is it legal for a liquor distribution company to not sell product to my liquor store, because the previous entity at the location owed money?

I purchased a liquor license and store from bank foreclosure. The license and store was lien free and cleared for sale by court order. There is a liquor distribution company unwilling to sell to me because of $1300 debt from the previous entity at my location. The distribution company is the sole distributor of certain products and I am unable to purchase those products from anywhere else.

Asked on July 12, 2011 under Business Law, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Generally speaking, a company is free to sell--or not sell--to anyone it likes, for any reason; there is no law requiring a distributor, for example, to sell to every potential customer. While laws do prohibit certain types of discrimination by certain businesses (e.g. no racial discrimination in places of public accomodation), those exemptions would not apply here. It's not unreasonable for the distributor to not want to sell to you; they may suspect that you are the previous entity under a different name. You should try offering them some guaranty to make it worthwhile to sell to you; e.g. you could give them a deposit as security, offer to personally guaranty debts or obligations, etc.


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