DoI have any rights if someone took advantage of my lack of knowledge regarding an items worth?

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DoI have any rights if someone took advantage of my lack of knowledge regarding an items worth?

I am moving out of state and had an estate sale. Unfortunately, I could not work at it, so i hired a friend and told him whatever profits were made I would give him 30%. When I came back he wanted to buy something I had for sale but I just gave it to him because he had helped so much. He was aware that the item was worth a lot of money; I did not know this. To make a long story short, I gave it to him and he sold it and made $20,000 off something that I had put $20 on. Do I have any legal rights to get any of the profits made from this item?

Asked on April 23, 2011 under Business Law, Michigan

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

The issue is whether or not the friend committed fraud against you, which will turn on whether he made any misrepresentations (or lies) about the object or situation. For example, if he said to you "I know this isn't worth much, but I'd like it, " or "I'll give you $20 for it, which is what it's worth," or something similar, when he knew that wasn't true and made the statements to get you to give him a valuable object for far under market value, that may be fraud and you might have a cause of action. On the other hand, if you saw him looking at an item or asked he about it, and even before he named what he thought was the appropriate price for it, you said, "take it--it's yours," then you would likely not have a cause of action. The law protects us from being tricked; it doesn't protect us from our own bad decisions. So whether  you have a cause of action depends on what your friend did, not merely what he may have known.


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