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Getting paid when a gallery closes

I consigned some of my work to a local gallery that had a good
reputation. The owner and I signed a consignment agreement where I
was to be paid within 45 days of a sale (after the opportunity to
return the item had expired). I received email notification of my
sales in Feb. for which I should have been paid $135 by mid-April.
Unannounced to employees and artists, the gallery closed at the end
of March. I retrieved all my unsold work but have still not been
paid for my Feb. sales. Repeated emails and phone calls to the
owners have produced a few apologies and one promise to be paid in
June after the sale of some store fixtures but still nothing from
them. Obviously it could have been much worse for me: I got my work
back and am only out $135 but I’m wondering what possible next steps
I can take to try to get paid. Also, is there anything I can do in
future consignment deals that will help to ensure that I get paid
for my sales in the event of the gallery closing?

Thanks, Elizabeth

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Question, did the gallery go bankrupt? If so, you should contact an
attorney for advice on how to file a claim in bankruptcy court
against the estate. If they did not go bankrupt, sounds like you
need to sue for what they owe you. Try the small claims court.

Cheers from Don at The Charles Belle Studio in SOFL where the
weather was gourgeous today and where simple elegance IS fine
jewelry! @coralnut2

Elizabeth, Since it is a local gallery, I would file a claim at your
local small claims court. Sometimes just being notified that you are
being sued will convince them to pay you the $135, it is cheaper
than going to court, especially when you know that you will lose. As
to the future, that’s a hard question. It is very difficult to
protect yourself against this kind of thing.

Joel Schwalb

Hi Elizabeth,

The same thing happened to me with consignment work in a gallery in
another state. First I was sent a bad check, which I managed to
collect after several tries. After that I did not receive any more
consignment checks even though my work had previously sold regularly.
After several months I asked to have my consignment jewelry returned
according to the consignment agreement. It took several letters and
phone calls but owner finally returned my unsold jewelry but she was
missing about $200 for the jewelry she had sold. Phone calls to the
gallery resulted in the usual excuses, “she will take care of your
payment this week.” I sent invoices several times. Finally the
gallery closed. Letters were returned. Phone numbers no longer
worked. The gallery owner must have moved to avoid creditors. I
think that she also knew that I was too far away and the amount was
too small to take legal action. I found the gallery owner on Google
several years later giving how-to-succeed motivational classes at her
church. I sent another invoice to her in care of the church. After
that she somehow blocked her name form Google.

David Luck
627 Center Street
Iowa City, IA 52245-3008