Is it legal to buy something then stop payment because you don’t want it?

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Is it legal to buy something then stop payment because you don’t want it?

I recently found some coins that I knew nothing about so I took them to a antique outlet to have them tell me about them. The lady pull out her magnifying glass and spent 20 minutes looking over them and looking in a coin book. She then asked if I was willing to sell them. I told her yes I had no use for them. She then offered me $1000 and I excepted it. She wrote me a check and that was the end of it. The check later was stopped as I went to cash it. I called her and she said they looked at them more and they are fake. I didn’t know that’s why I went to them, not my problem.

Asked on August 4, 2011 North Carolina

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Can you stop payment because you change your mind? No, not unless the agreement of sale specifically gave the buyer the right to get a refund, terminate the transaction, etc.

However, it's a different story if what you thought you were buying turns out to not be what you were in fact getting. If the agreement of sale was that you would be paid $1,000 for, say, 6 colonial gold dollars (I'm not a coin collector; I'm just making this up), but it instead turns out that the coins are 6 Monopoly Coloinial Edition Play Money (to use a ridiculous example), the buyer may cancel the contract, since she is not getting what she contracted to receive, and get her money back--or stop payment.

Of course, in that case, she would need to return the coins to you--she can't keep the coins without paying. And if you then have them appraised and find out that the coins are genuine, you could sue her to force her to go ahead with the sale.


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