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

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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

Answers:

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

Answered 8 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.


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