Can a warehouse legally refuse to release merchandise to a company that has items stored in it, over billing issues that are being disputed but are current?

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Can a warehouse legally refuse to release merchandise to a company that has items stored in it, over billing issues that are being disputed but are current?

Asked on July 17, 2014 under Business Law, Ohio

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

Yes, if there is a good faith, they can refuse to release these items. The service agreement/contract between the warehouse and the client storing items there probably provides that they may do this, and if so, such a contractual provision will be enforced. Even in the absence of a contract to this effect, the law generally allows a bailee (person or entity holding the goods for another, such as warehouse) to retain such goods in the event of nonpayment or a payment dispute; and also, they generally would not be required to provide additional services (e.g. picking, packing, sending out) if they have not been paid for all services provided to date.


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