Can I confiscate a customer’s goods even if they pay off their debt after a specified period of time?

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Can I confiscate a customer’s goods even if they pay off their debt after a specified period of time?

I want to institute a policy to dissuade customers from having me repair their computers and not pay. The policy I want to use is simple — From date of invoice, a customer has 21 calender days to pay in full or be sent to collections, unless other arrangements are made. If payment is not made in full by the due date, their computer/materials will be confiscated and they will still be liable for the full invoice price. Even if they later pay up, they won’t get their goods back. I want to do this because I have had customers who don’t ever pay even though they approve repairs.

Asked on October 30, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, Montana

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You cannot legally confiscate a customer's property if they pay or not pay. What you can implement is a written policy to be signed by all customers that if they do not pick up their belongings that you are working on and repairing within 45 days or so of written notice that they are repaired and ready to be picked up, that you can sell the items repaired to pay for your services and materials expended.

Any excess money from any sale of the items will need to be returned to the customer.

Good luck.


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