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Interference with Goods


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Hello,

 

My brother in law has recently split from his girlfriend after living together for two years it was a bit of a nasty split and she has since sent a text message demanding her stuff. He has said she's more than welcome to have whatever she brought with her / bought. The problem is she has been incommunicado since then so we are planning on issuing a notice under Interference with goods act I was wondering if anyone can help me with a few questions please? 

 

  1. Can we set certain times for collection on the notice, i.e ensuring it is evening or weekends for the best availability? 
  2. If the notice expires and the goods are not collected do you have to go to court for permission to sell them or are you automatically entitled to do this? 
  3. What is a reasonable path of sale, obviously you can't just give them all to your mate for £10 and call it a day but somethings you're just not going to be able to sell. 

 

Thanks!

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The guiding principle here should be transparency.

The objectives of course are to get rid of the items.
To reduce the possibility of disputes with the ex.
And if the items are sold on, to make sure that the purchaser takes good title which cannot then be challenged by the ex.

 

You haven't told us anything about what the items might be or their value. I think this is important to know.

If the items are extremely bulky/cumbersome and if they happen to be high value then you will probably need to take a much more cautious approach.
Please give us details.

I think that the first thing you should do is take an inventory of all of the items – and also take photographs so that everybody is clear as to the condition of them.

Send a copy of the inventory to the ex including the photographs and ask her to agree that the inventory is correct or to make any other comments. Do this by email. Try not to use SMS.
I wouldn't start making any other threats or anything at this point which are likely to increase the antagonism.
 

If you don't have a response within seven days then I suggest that you sent her an email and tell her that you are giving her notice under the Torts (Interference with Goods) Act that you are holding the items contained in the inventory already supplied and that if you do not hear from her within 14 days, that you will begin the process of putting them up for sale on eBay.

Tell her that the work of photographing the items and putting them up for sale and also packaging et cetera will cost you a certain amount of work and so you are proposing to charge 10% of the gross sale price of every item if this is what you have to do.
Tell her that after deductions of eBay fees, PayPal fees, postal charges and your own fees, you will then remit the balance to her.

I think the final thing I should say is that when couples split up, there is often a great deal of animosity which eventually calms down. Maybe it will be worth racking your brains to think of some person who is known to both of you and whom she trusts that you can contact and get them to act as an intermediary in the problem.

Once again, you haven't told us the value of the items but I can imagine that even at 10% the whole business of selling stuff off will be a huge nuisance – as you will have to record it, package it, deal with the financial aspects et cetera.

It will be much better off if you talked to some friend of hers and maybe even organised the delivery all the items in one go to that person and they can then hand them over to the ex-girlfriend

 

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Where the break up has been very acrimonious it's probably best the (ex-) couple don't discuss it directly with each other. Too much emotional history and anger will get in the way of a practical way to resolve this. Maybe each of them asks a friend they can trust but who isn't so emotionally involved to have the discussions and arrange what needs to be done?

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Hi All,

 

Thanks for that - there's actually more to the breakup than I've gone into but as a result I intend to be the intermediary so the parties don't have to communicate. The goods are bulky items but would be difficult to get any sort of decent value for, i.e a tumble dryer that's 2 years old, an old bed frame etc.

 

Would it have to be an ebay listing or could we sell to people locally (facebook marketplace etc). If the latter is acceptable presumably we need to use a around market value for the listing?

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Has the ex-girlfriend consented to you being an intermediary? Or have you simply taken this role on yourself?

It would still be a better idea if you delve on behalf of your brother-in-law and dealt with somebody who is dealing on behalf of the ex-girlfriend.

You need to keep everything arm's-length.

EBay would be the cleanest solution – but obviously not the easiest. Whatever your plans are for disposing the items, you should follow my advice and prepare an inventory and notify the other side and give her an opportunity to object or to accept the situation. When making the entry you could even put a value against each item and say that this is what you will be advertising for and where it will be advertised.

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31 minutes ago, BankFodder said:

Has the ex-girlfriend consented to you being an intermediary? Or have you simply taken this role on yourself?

It would still be a better idea if you delve on behalf of your brother-in-law and dealt with somebody who is dealing on behalf of the ex-girlfriend.

You need to keep everything arm's-length.

EBay would be the cleanest solution – but obviously not the easiest. Whatever your plans are for disposing the items, you should follow my advice and prepare an inventory and notify the other side and give her an opportunity to object or to accept the situation. When making the entry you could even put a value against each item and say that this is what you will be advertising for and where it will be advertised.

 

Unfortunately I don't know any contact details of anyone who could deal with it for her, but I am happy to do either. I suspect I could follow your steps but write on the first contact "if you'd prefer an intermediary to assist you please pass my details on"?

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Well I think we made everything clear and he explained very carefully that independence is important and so is transparency.

I think we will have to leave it up to you to make the correct decisions.

I have to say that it seems to me that you are coming in heavy on this. Do you think that maybe you're getting rather "legal" at a rather early stage?

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5 minutes ago, BankFodder said:

Well I think we made everything clear and he explained very carefully that independence is important and so is transparency.

I think we will have to leave it up to you to make the correct decisions.

I have to say that it seems to me that you are coming in heavy on this. Do you think that maybe you're getting rather "legal" at a rather early stage?

Sorry I've been quite vague so as not to reveal too much information, as I mentioned earlier this is more than just a split - there's a few more factors involved in this (children, other legal issues etc). Unfortunately the ex is known to cause issues and my reasoning for wanting to do everything in 'proper' or 'heavy' forms is just so there is no disparity at a later stage that could cause future issues.

 

I'd love to be in a situation where we can just text her third party (or even her directly) and say when are you free to come get your stuff, but unfortunately if it's not done by the book it will probably come back to bite.

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