what action, if any, can i take against a business for not returning personal property

I left behind an item at a hotel and had been in contact with the location to
have my property returned to me. i was told my item was found and being sent out.
however after almost 3 months I have yet to receive anything not even an
explanation. I have continuously reached out to the hotel to find out what is
going on to no response of any form.

Asked on January 3, 2018 under Business Law, Virginia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

They have to return it to you if it was in their possession, but did not have to pay to return it: you would either have to pick it up or provide a fed ex account, postage prepaid shipping box, etc. for it. They are under no obligation to spend their money to ship back your item, and so would not have to send it out until you arranged for the shipping.
If they have lost the item, you could sue them for it's value, though you'd have to prove they lost it through their carelessness or an act ordered by management (e.g. to throw it out): they are not liable if someone stole it from the hotel (even if an employee did: an employer is not liable for the criminal acts of its staff unless the employer caused the criminal act in some way) or if they tried to mail, etc. it back and it was lost by the USPS or UPS, Fed Ex, etc. It may be difficult to prove how the item was lost or their responsibility for it, and even if you can, it might not be economically worthwhile to bring a legal action.


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