What to do if I own a consignment shop and took in several items from a consignor that are allegedly stolen?

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What to do if I own a consignment shop and took in several items from a consignor that are allegedly stolen?

After the items were on the sales floor, 2 younger girls came in taking pictures and asking questions. The following day, the girls mother came in and stated that our consignor had stolen the items from her daughter’s. We pulled the items from the floor and will no longer take consignments from the woman accused of theft. The mother sent us a certified letter stating we had to reply within 10 days or she would go to the police. We have not replied and still have the items in question in our possession.

Asked on December 18, 2013 under Business Law, Massachusetts

Answers:

Gregory Abbott / Consumer Law Northwest

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

Take her up on it - the Police are the ONLY way to go.  At the moment, you don't know for sure who is trying to scam you - the consignor or Mom/Daughter.  You shouldn't have to guess.  If the police claim it as stolen property, fine, you are covered.  If they give the property a clean bill of health so to speak, continue to offer it for sale.  Just DO NOT just turn it over to Mom on her word or you may be unwittingly helping to steal, or at least defraud, the true owner.  Dealing with the police doesn't hurt you (assuming you are innocent of wrong-doing here of course) and could protect you.  Make it their problem to determine who the lawful owner is instead of it being your's.


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