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Would like opinions on this please.

 

A dress agency has to close down due to bereavement. There are 400 customers who have clothing on the premises.

The person left to sort everything out does not have a phone number for every one of the customers (about 50), they were people who one of the proprioters knew and called in frequently.

When clothing was accepted to be put up for sale there was no limit to the time the agency would hold it, therefore some items have been in the shop for 6 months or more.

The shop has had to close due to bereavement and new tennants will be taking over the lease but not the business.

The problem is, how to dispose of all the stock. There is a notice on the window giving a mobile phone number for people to contact and if they do thier clothing is being delivered back to them. Its the people for which there is no phone number that are the problem, obviously the intention is to get everything back to everybody but the owner did not take addresses, only phone numbers. In one case there is an expensive item of clothing which has not been enquired about since it was left in January which needs returning but the number the customer left does not accept incoming calls!!!! Therefore there is no way to contact the owner.

The premises have to be empty in 3 weeks time.

Does anyone have any ideas as to the legalities in this situation. If items are not claimed are we allowed to pass them to charity or is that theft as the items do not belong to us?

We really dont know where to go with this as the clothing has to be removed from the store, what do we do if we cant trace the owners????

Anyone have any ideas please.

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I would contact your local Trading Standards department who would be happy to provide advice. The last thing you need is to do what you believe is the right thing, only to find out it is not.

 

Can I ask which local authority you are in?

 

It's good to see a retailer acting responsibly.


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Thank you for the reply Gizmo. We are in Greater Manchester.

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Check with Trading Standards. Another option have you tried the MEN or the local free papers (all being done under the MEN now but you should still be able to get hold of a local reporter.) I'm sure the local papers in particular would carry a story about it. It's certainly worth trying.

 

DG


I have no legal training my knowledge comes from my personal life experiences

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If you google your borough's name (e.g, Bolton, Manchester etc) followed by Trading Standards, you will be taken to their home page and there will be a link somewhere for advice to businesses along with a telephone number.

 

Depending on which borough you are in, some TS depts will have a walk in facility, meaning you can pop in and get face to face advice.


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Thank you for the replys. I have spoken to trading standards. The first lady said she could not give me a difinitive answer and gave me a different number for another section of trading standards.

I came across the same thing there. There dosnt seem to be a set answer to this circumstance. The best they could advise was to do all we can to contact everyone. They suggested putting an ad in the local newspaper so that 'if anyone sues at a later stage because you have disposed of the clothing you will be able to show that you did everything in your power'.

The problem with that is that we would have to put an ad in a least 7 papers as the customer base is so wide spread and financially its not possible.

I was told the only thing they could suggest was to consult a solicitor but I cant see how a solicitor would know more than trading standards.

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Trading Standards deal with a wide variety of issues and concentrate on legislation from an enforcement viewpoint. If TS prosecute, it's usually passed over to the authority's solicitors.

 

That's why they suggested to speak to a solicitor - they are more familiar with case law and the rest of the legislation and will probably have a better idea in terms of litigation should it occur.

 

IMHO, I would say that the fact they have been in the shop for 6 months would mean the owners have simply given up on them or forgotten them.

 

I would say hand them to the police, but don't know if you could or not, otherwise a charity so at least some good comes from all of this.

 

But I would seek the advice of a solicitor. Try contacting your local chamber of commerce to see if they can recommend one.


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Thanks Gizmo. I have put up a notice saying that any unclaimed items will be passed to a charity shop, I have also named the shop so those who have said they dont want the things back can check they have gone there if they wish.

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You can put a paid for notice in the legal notices section of your local paper with an explanation of what has happened and giving the owners 28 to collect and then you can legally dispose of the remainder.

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An update and request for more opinions please.

 

Lots of customers have been contacted and things are being returned. The process is taking a while as one of the partners is ill due to the after effects of the bereavement and another of the partners is away on holiday at the moment. There are about 40 messages a day on the answer phone and customers are being ealt with in numerical order. Its a massive job collating the orders together and delivering them out but its all being done.

 

Now the problem, - one lady has left a message yesterday saying that unless her items are delivered back by Tuesday 10am she will take action and sue!!!!! She has accused the owners of theft, deception and fraud. There is no intent to do any of these things and customers have been kept fully aware of the situation and assured thier items will all be returned asap.

 

Has she got any grounds to take action, obviously they will try to make sure the items are returned by Tuesday but can she accuse people of these type of things (theft etc), she has left the message by text and voicemail.

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Seems like she's just got her knickers in a twist. Send her a text back and tell her they will be there as soon as possible but Tuesday cannot be guaranteed due to the Bank Holiday and the amount of items being processed.

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Why should they return it? Shouldn't she be told to come and get her stuff herself? That's what I would do. :mad:

 

(As you know, I am of the "stamp on their feet until THEY apologise" school)

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Why should they return it? Shouldn't she be told to come and get her stuff herself? That's what I would do. :mad:

 

(As you know, I am of the "stamp on their feet until THEY apologise" school)

 

I am with you on this one Bookworm.

 

But if they collect them before Tuesday I MAY waive the charge for storage!

 

Idiots!

 

Pedross

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