Should I file a small claims case if a breech or oral contract and fraud were committed?

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Should I file a small claims case if a breech or oral contract and fraud were committed?

I bought a pair of tickets from someone online.
I paid him via moneygram but never received
the tickets. He said I would get receipts and
emails of confirmation once I paid him but I
never did. He also ‘gave me his word’ that he
was legit and I would definitely receive the
tickets. It has been three days and have not
received any respond from him. I paid him
950 for four tickets.

Asked on February 23, 2017 under Business Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

If you have a physical address for him (see below), then filing a lawsuit for the money, for all of breach of contract (violating the agreement; an oral agreement or contract is enforceable), fraud (lying about what he could or would do), or theft (by deception; tricking you into giving him money) would be appropriate--you can, and should, allege all the different reasons why he may owe you money, since if you don't win under one, you may win under another. For this amount, small claims court is a good option.
But you need that physical address, because to have jurisdiction (power) over a defendant (person being sued), the court must be able to physically serve (deliver) the summons and complaint to him. Without a physical address, you cannot initiate the lawsuit.


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