What to do if I work for a watch company’s repair department but some people never pick their watches up?

UPDATED: Apr 18, 2013

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What to do if I work for a watch company’s repair department but some people never pick their watches up?

Many times, a customer will send in a watch for repair and forget about it. We make many attempts to reach the customer but to no avail. How many times are we obligated to contact them and if they don’t respond? What is our obligation regarding the watch (at what point does it become our property)? Going forward, we would like to send a certified letter to each client regarding their watch giving them notice that we tried to reach them, if we don’t hear back from you in ______days, we will _______of the watch, etc. Also, going forward, we would like to include a section on our repair form defining giving them a specific deadline to claim their watch and what we will do with the watch. Is this a good idea?

Asked on April 18, 2013 under Business Law, New York


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

When a person agrees to hold property for another, something known as a “bailment is created; the “bailee” is the person holding the property. There are different types of bailmentsand depending on the type, the bailee’s duty of care may be ordinary or extraordinary. In your situation, since there is compensation involved, you owe a higher standard of care. That having been said one the bailor (the person giving the property) abandons such property, then the bailor has certain legal rights to keep the property. Exactly what those rights are depends on state statute.

What youshould do now is to consult directly with an attoreny in your area. They can can best advise as to your full rights and remedies in this situation.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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