If I loaned equipment to someone who then sold it, how do I get it back?

I loaned a backhoe to someone in my family. He decided to sell it to a construction company. He said it was his, not mine. I have a bill of sale in my name from when I bought it.How do I get my equipment back?

Asked on August 12, 2012 under Business Law, Illinois


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Speak with an attorney. It is possible that you may not be able to get the backhoe back from the buyer, if the buyer purchased it for fair value, in good faith, on a reasonable belief that the seller had the right to sell it--the law may not, in that case, let you penalize the buyer, who did everything right. However, you certainly would have grounds to sue the family member to recover either the then-current value of the backhoe or the amount he/she received for it, whichever is greater, plus other costs you incurred.

However, if you report this as a theft, then you may be able to recover the backhoe itself--the law does not generally allow people to keep stolen property. (The buyer could then sue your family member.)  Of course, you'd  have to report this family member to the police for theft; on the other hand, that is what he or she did.

So you do have rights, to either the backhoe or money; your attorney can evaluate the situation and advise you as to your best options.

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