How to handle a theft of a delivered package, which is now claimed to be lost bya hotel manager?

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How to handle a theft of a delivered package, which is now claimed to be lost bya hotel manager?

What can we do? We are international travelers. A hotel manager, did not pass a package ($400) that was Fedex’d to my friend and I as guests, although it was delivered and countersigned (you can see on the bill). After they did not inform us about the incoming package and we already left, we asked them to mail it to a friend via 24 hours night express on our card. They claim to have charged the package with their own card via their account and sent it but not with express. It was never delivered. It is now considered as lost. They claim the tracking number as lost (nearly impossible with an on-line payment). We feel cheated.

Asked on June 30, 2011 under Business Law, California

Answers:

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Yes, most likely what occurred is someone who accepted the package actually took the package and tried to cover it up. The hotel management won't tell you but here is the issue: whether the hotel owes you a duty as either an innkeeper (high level of safety) or as a reasonable person or even as a possible bailor.  If the innkeeper acts as a willing bailor (pre-arranged agreement to safeguard your belongings while in its possession), then the hotel owes you replacement monies.  Secondly, if the innkeeper has indicated in its advertising or hotel agreement with you it would undertake to safekeep any of your belongings, then it has a duty.  Here, as in most states, unless you physically have the hotel agree to hold your items and you don't have a hotel room agreement that states your property is your responsibility to keep safe (hence safes in rooms), you may not have a whole lot to go by other than the FedEx delivery receipt. That may be sufficient to show the hotel agreed to at least accept your belongings and implicitly safeguard it until it was passed to you and therefore, sufficient to show a bailor bailee relationship. Consider talking to the hotel again. If it refuses to help you, contact the Office of the California Attorney General and file a complaint; and then file a police report with the city police department in which the hotel is located.


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