Who owns the product?
UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022
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Who owns the product?
We are a small business and wish to gain clarification on who now owns the purchased product. Approximately 1 year ago, a customer purchased a product and through the merchant bank system gained his money back whilst still having the product in his possession. We, the merchant facility took our bank to the FOS to disputed the refund. We won, and the bank returned the funds back into our account. However, the customer still has his original refund of the product and the product in their possession. I do not want any further financial gain from this dispute but do not want the customer to feel they can get away with receiving a refund on inaccurate grounds whilst still holding the product itself. i.e. giving the customer a financial gain. Do we, the bank or the customer own the product?
Asked on August 14, 2017 under Business Law, Alaska
SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney
Answered 5 years ago | Contributor
If they were granted a refund, the product belongs to you: the law does not allow them to be unjustly or unfairly enriched by keeping the money and the product both. (They can have one or the other, not both.) You could bring a lawsuit based on "unjust enrichment" to regain the product, but bear mind that you'd have to sue--incur the time, cost, effort and possibly negative publicity of suing a former customer--if they won't voluntarily return it. It is not likely to be worthwhile to do this.
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