How long must a seller hold an item that’s been paid for before it can be resold?

UPDATED: Jun 5, 2011

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How long must a seller hold an item that’s been paid for before it can be resold?

I sold a used ATV (non-titled) to a gentleman out of state 3 1/2 months ago. It was paid for in full, and I told the buyer I would store it until he could come pick it up (thinking he would be here in a week or so). He told me o3 weeks after the sale that he would pick it up 2 weeks after that. To date he is still a no-show; not even a return call from him for over a month. Can I resell this item?

Asked on June 5, 2011 under Business Law, New York


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Here is the thing: the court's tend to frown on what is known as "unjust enrichment" meaning that you get to keepthe money from BOTH sales of the ATV.  I can surely understand that you do not wish the vehicle on your property any more but I am concerned that it may be considered a bailment at this point - your holding it for him - and if you sold it it would be considered conversion.  Do you have his last know address?  I would send him a letter by certified mail return receipt requested (and the same letter by regular mail with a certificate of mailing) letting him know that you wish the property removed within a certain period of time or you will refund his money and sell the ATV to someone else.  That he has incurred storage fees at this point in time.  See what happens.  Good luck. 

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