News 12 at 6 o'clock / Monday, Dec. 17, 2012
COLUMBIA COUNTY, Ga. -- A Columbia County man says his investment went up in smoke after a costly business mistake.
Craig Perryman lit up when an acquaintance talked to him about becoming a partner in an electronic cigarette business.
"We've had people that have smoked 30 or 40 years, sometimes three packs a day. Sometimes they instantly quit by getting one of these and never touching another cigarette," Perryman said.
Perryman says believed in the product and he believed in his partner.
"We figured up how much inventory she had at the time. I gave her half at what it was valued at, and we used that money to order more product right away," he said.
Perryman says he put up some of his own money down and even signed a lease on the storefront property. Eventually, he says he left his daytime job to pursue the e-cigarette business full time.
"I put in my notice that Monday morning just like I planned. I came by Monday afternoon, and she said, 'OK, we are through as business partners,'" Perryman said.
He says he was left with the lease and no business. Now, the former partners are now in a legal battle.
News 12 talked with Chuck Pardue, the attorney for Perryman's former partner.
"Were they ever in any sort of business partnership?" asked News 12's Liz Owens.
"Nothing in writing. There was perhaps some informal promises made, but they were conditional promises," Pardue replied.
"What's the biggest mistake you think you made?" Owens asked.
"Not having a written business agreement and being too trusting," Pardue said.
Perryman never documented his partnership in writing.
"Get everything, all the important terms, in writing, and generally its best to contact an attorney," Richard Goolsby.said.
Perryman is working to reignite his passion for e-cigarettes by opening his own store, partner free.
Both partners are now suing each other. According to legal documents, Perryman's former partner offered him $4,000 to dissolve their business relationship. He is asking for $40,000.
To avoid this kind of legal trouble, make sure you get everything in writing and spend the extra money to have an attorney to review it.