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Can a salesperson sue a client for canceling a contract? Can a agent sue me for canceling a gig and can he recover anything?

Chicago, IL |

I'm a member of a band, my drums were stolen, so i needed to replace them. One of my friends went with me to look for new drums, they were very expensive and i told him i couldnt afford them, but he told me hey if you can't pay them i will pay them for you. I went to one of my neighbors store but the drums were more expensive, neighbor the salesperson told me that she couldn't help me, so, i left. My neighbor called another neighbor and told him about the situation and he said don't worry send me the contract and will pay everything he requested and make it look like a normal sale so you can get the commision. The neighbor called me and i called my agent relying on the contract to schedule a concert for 4 days at a club. The neighbor later called and cancelled the contract.

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Attorney answers 4


Your narrative, in my opinion, is not very clear. I suggest you consult a lawyer in private to explain the situation and see what a best course of action might be. At this point, I think most of us here would have more questions than answers.

Most of us here, including myself, offer a free phone consult.

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I am not sure I follow your question as it relates to the neighbor and the very expensive drum store and the friend and the other neighbor and the even more expensive drums and.... If you have a valid contract to play, you need to play. Most stores have rentals available, so there should be no problem getting drums. If your agent is damaged by your failure to live up to your obligations under the contract, then, yes, depending on the terms of the contract he can probably successfully sue you.

By the very nature of Avvo, you have only provided limited facts and no documentation, therefore, our response to your question is treated only as a hypothetical, and as such it is merely general in nature. You should not rely on this response in taking or forgoing action in your circumstances without discussing this matter with an attorney. If we had the opportunity to ask you sufficient questions and review relevant documents so that we were satisfied we had all of the relevant facts and circumstances, our response might differ significantly. Without the opportunity to ask you questions, and review all relevant documents and memoranda, we are simply unable to provide any form of legal advice. Our response to your question does not create any attorney-client relationship between us, and we are not acting as your attorney. We reserve the right to decline representation in any case. By answering your question, we are under no obligation to answer further questions. There are very specific deadlines for filing a lawsuit, replying to a lawsuit filed against you, or taking other action in order to preserve your legal rights. You should contact an attorney immediately in order to be fully advised of your rights, and so that you are aware of those deadlines. If you fail to act within the required time frame, you might be forever barred from asserting your rights or defending your position. The attorney answering this question is licensed in Illinois and Iowa only.

Judy A. Goldstein

Judy A. Goldstein


True, except the question is whether the salesperson can sue for canceling the purchase contract, not whether the agent can sue for canceling a playing contract. There was a whole lot of fluff about expensive drums and neighbors which made the story hard to follow.

Judy A. Goldstein

Judy A. Goldstein


Oops! I responded to Part 1 and not Part 2. I think the agent can sue the musician for breaking the contact. The musician will soon be out an agent and possibly out money as well. Why didn't the musician have insurance on the drums?


You need to keep your obligation with your agent or you could have more problems than just breach of that contract. Word gets out when musicians fail to show up or cancel for no reason. You will lose your agent and gigs. You should have had insurance on your drums. If you can't buy new ones, rent a set and start making enough money to purchase - and insure - a new set.

Thomas O. Moens

Thomas O. Moens


Insurance is a great suggestion. Back in the very, very olden days, I had a policy for my musical equipment--I think it was all of $35 per year. Granted that was in the early 1800's, but it was still pretty reasonable.


Your answer doesn't state enough facts to answer completely and the information doesn't make much sense at all. However, I am quite familiar with your industry as I used to own a concert venue and handled band contracts on a daily basis (everything from local bands to platinum album artists).

First off, heed the advice of the other attorneys... do not be a no-show for your gig. And rent drums if you have to. In the future, make sure you have them insured. I'm not sure what you were thinking, but I would never have expensive gear such as yours and leave it uninsured.

Second, if you no-show, it won't only hurt you, but your other band members. Unprofessionalism, such as no-shows, kills bands dead in their tracks. Any momentum that you had prior will all be gone.

Third, and probably just as important, depending on the contract, you may be liable to the venue for some sort of damages if you fail to show. A band that no-shows is very costly to a venue. Not only does the venue lose money, but they still have to pay lost revenue, pay for security, sound company, employees, etc. I can tell you from my experience, a no show cost me $300-$500 in hard costs plus huge amounts in lost revenue.

I worked very closely with all of the major booking agents in this area, if you make them look bad/unprofessional to the venues, your chances of getting future shows is non-existent. I'm not exaggerating when I say this, but these agents talk to hundreds and hundreds of bands. Something like a no show makes it quite easy for them to scratch you from the list.

Another suggestion I have to protect your liability in the future is to form an LLC for your band. We can discuss why or you can visit my website for more information.

In summary, go to Andy's Music Rental on Elston or any other rental center in Chicago that rents drums and rent a drum set! Or better yet, most bands are friends with other bands, call one up and ask them to borrow a set!

I try to provide an opinion, or what I would do in your situation, however, this answer is intended as informational only - based upon very limited facts - and does not constitute legal advice or form an attorney-client relationship between us. I do not claim to know every single law because laws are often changing. Therefore, I encourage you to consult with another attorney regarding your case and time limitations.

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