What to do if I run a business that allows customers to trade in items for cash or store credit and one of then has left their stuff for nearly 3 months?

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What to do if I run a business that allows customers to trade in items for cash or store credit and one of then has left their stuff for nearly 3 months?

A customer left a box with us. We have made several attempts to contact him but he has not come by to complete the transaction or reclaim his property. We have it posted that property left here 30 days becomes store property but never really intended to have to enforce that. Are we legally allowed to assume ownership of this property now?

Asked on January 19, 2014 under Business Law, New Hampshire

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

If it was prominently posted that unclaimed property becomes store property after a certain period of time, that should be enforceable--i.e. the property should be yours. A good idea is to make a last attempt to contact the customer, by some means that you can prove receipt (e.g. by fed ex or priority mail with delivery confirmation), and in that contact, recite the policy, describe how it had been posted, and give the person another 30 days to redeem it; after that, you should be able to do with it as you wish.


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