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Disputed storage claim

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I have paid a shipping company (turned out to be a one man band) to ship good for me overseas. the company has instead took my goods to a logistic company for them to handling the actual shipping but fail to pay the logistic company the shipping cost. this was since october 2012. the logistic company has since place the good in storage. i have not been able to contact the shipping company since they took my goods. i have recently been able to locate the logistic company who directed me to a warehouse where my good are being kept in storage.


the storage company advised they too have not been able to make contact with the shipping company and therefore require that i pay the storage charges before they release my goods.


do they have any legal right to keep my good considering the contract between them and the shipper has nothing to do with me? what are my option.


Thank you

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Hi blueface

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Hi Blueface and welcome to CAG!


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As above. You need to make payment before they will release the goods, otherwise they could sell them after a certain amount of time to recoup their costs. Thats why storage companies, and container companies regularly have auctions selling off each container load or room.

Any advice i give is my own and is based solely on personal experience. If in any doubt about a situation , please contact a certified legal representative or debt counsellor..



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Bad news I'm afraid, the contract between the 2 companies means that you have to pay and then chase the disappearing company for your money. this is one of the ****ty things about UK law, when you are wronged you have to chase the wrongdoer for money rather than get things put right. If someone forges your signature to sell your house for example you can only get compensation from the person who made the illegal gain, not the person who bought it in good faith as it is now registered to them.

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The right to hold onto the goods is a lien, and the lien would have been created by the contract between the shipping company and the logistics company. You were not part of that contract and the goods remained your property, nor were you involved in the debt owed by the shipping company to the logistics company, so I think the logistics company would need to have some sort of basis for holding onto the goods. I did some research and it seems the position is not clear-cut. From this guide - http://www.birketts.co.uk/documents/publications/Business%20Matters%201.pdf:


"Company A has a contractual right to a lien fromCustomer B. However, C owns the goods and demands them fromA. Normally the courts will say that C has given B express or implied authority to contract with A (including the right to the lien).


(i) Express authority: InJarl Tra AB v Convoys Ltd: the owner of the goods entrusted them to a sea carrier who expressly reserved the right to sub-contract on any terms. This consent was held to include the right to sub-contract to give the handling agentthe usual rights to a general lien.


(ii) Implied authority: To be implied, it must have been contemplated that the goods would be entrusted to a third party on terms that included a general lien. The test is that the owner of the goods knew or should have realised that the goodsmight come into the hands of, say, a forwarder or warehouse and that they knew or should have realised that the third party would only contract on the basis of a general lien."


Therefore, it seems the logistics company can only hold onto your goods if they have an express or implied right to do so. They may well have this right. However, I think it still may be worth challenging them. I would write to the logistics company claiming ownership of the goods, explaining that the provisions in their contract with the shipping company do not bind you and that the shipping company did not have the right to pledge your goods for their debt, and demanding that the goods are returned.



Also - I assume the goods were in the UK. You wanted them shipped overseas. Then surely the shipping costs cannot be that large? Obviously, if the goods are in a warehouse abroad then their rights to the goods would governed by the law of the country concerned.




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