Is the owner of an consignment shop or its employees liable for the theft of property when there are no security measures that prevent the theft?

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Is the owner of an consignment shop or its employees liable for the theft of property when there are no security measures that prevent the theft?

Asked on May 4, 2015 under Business Law, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Yes, the shop could be liable, under a theory of negligence: in taking in goods to sell on consignment, they are accepting a duty or obligation to keep them safe; that duty requires them to take reasonable steps (e.g. locks; alarms; possibly security cameras) to safeguard them; the failure to do so could be considered negligent, or unreasonably careless; causing the loss of another's property due to negligence can make one liable, or financially resonsible, for that property. The exception would be if there was some prominent notice in the shop, when the goods were dropped off, that the shop is not responsible for losses; if someone left goods with the shop with knowledge of such a policy, they accepted the risk of loss.


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