Seller shipped wrong item

Dear Consumer Ed:

I responded to a classified ad from a Georgia-based seller for some red bamboo and paid the seller by check. The guy sent me the wrong plant (not even bamboo). When I called to request an exchange, he told me he would ship the correct plant to me and hold my check until I confirmed receipt. I’ve been waiting three months and haven’t received the correct plant. Furthermore, the guy cashed my check after promising to hold it and now refuses to refund my money. What can I do?

Consumer Ed says:

The Georgia Department of Agriculture regulates the sale of live plants. According to its rules, at the request of the purchaser, refund of payment must be made by any live plant grower or live plant dealer on all orders of live plants which have not been delivered within 90 days of acceptance of payment, and which are not covered by a contract on a future order. If the seller did not deliver the plant that you ordered, and instead sent a plant that was significantly different from the plant that was advertised and that you believed you would be purchasing, you should receive a refund.

If you can't resolve the dispute with the seller, you may take your problem to magistrate court. Magistrate court, also called small claims court, is an informal court that handles money claims of less than $15,000.  This court may offer you a quick and inexpensive solution. Go to consumer.georgia.gov/resolve-your-dispute/other-options-resolving-your-dispute for more information.

In addition, deceptive advertising and deliberate misrepresentations could be violations of the Georgia Fair Business Practices Act, so you may want to submit a complaint to the Georgia Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division by visiting consumer.ga.gov or calling (404) 651-8600. As always, when faced with legal issues, you may want to consider consulting with a private attorney regarding any other legal remedies you might have.

Submit your own question to Consumer Ed.  Remember…we do not give legal advice. Always consult a lawyer about legal issues.

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