If I repair toy models as a hobby, how long am I obligated to hold onto a model that I’m repairing for someone before it’s considered abandoned?

UPDATED: Jul 25, 2011

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If I repair toy models as a hobby, how long am I obligated to hold onto a model that I’m repairing for someone before it’s considered abandoned?

I picked up 3 models to repair for a friend of a friend 5 months ago. I repaired 2 of them, and sent them to the owner with the idea that she would pay me at the first of the month. Yet to date, she has still not paid. I still have 1 model in hand and have told her that I want to be paid before I send it back to her. How long am I obligated to wait before I can sell it to cover my repair costs? It’s value is under $150 and she is threatening legal action to get it, even though she owes me still. I’m not sure what my next step should be.

Asked on July 25, 2011 Maryland


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

You should send a letter and a written invoice to your friend for payment of the services you rendered for the models you repaired with a requested payment date on an invoice. Photocopy the letter and invoice for future reference and take photographs of the models you repaired.

Potentially you could sell the left behind item to pay for your services if you give the customer adequate written notice of your intent to do so. I caution against such a procedure. It would be best to return the items to the customer friend with an invoice to be paid in a stated time period. If not paid within the requested time frame, take her to small claims court for money owed.

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