What to to do if a buyer stops payment on a check for the purchase of items that they already have in their possession?

UPDATED: Sep 6, 2012

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What to to do if a buyer stops payment on a check for the purchase of items that they already have in their possession?

My parents sold their house and the day before closing the buyers purchased $250 in items -planters, vacuum, buffet table and wrote a check for them. The next day at closing, the buyers stopped payment on the $250 check and it was returned as a stop pay to my parent’s account. Does this qualify as theft by deception? The buyer claims that it was stopped because there was a mark on the linoleum in the utility room where the dryer had discolored the linoleum but the realtor and I had given the buyer $200 towards the cost of this so that the closing would proceed. The buyers were dishonest. What can I do?

Asked on September 6, 2012 under Bankruptcy Law, Nebraska


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

From what you have written your parents have a clear basis for a small claims court action against the buyers of the property that they sold and some for the furnishings. For the buyers to keep the items, stop payment on the $250 check and not offer to return the items to your parents is a clear case of breach of contract.

Your parents should write the buyers a note demanding payment of the $250 plus the charge for when the check did not clear on their account by a certain date. If not paid to them by the due date, their recourse is small claims court.

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