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William B. Esq.
William B. Esq., Lawyer
Category: Consumer Protection Law
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Experience:  I am a civil litigation attorney with experience representing individuals and businesses.
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I hired a designer to order custom furniture for me. She ordered

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I hired a designer to order custom furniture for me. She ordered the furniture, I paid her for it in full, she paid the manufacturer and the furniture was built and has been ready to ship since January 15, 2013. Out of spite to me, the designer has notified the manufacturer not to ship the furniture to me until they receive instructions, in writing from the designer, that they can ship it. Although its my order, and I paid for the furniture, it is under the designers name, and the manufacturer can not ship it to me. I spoke with the manufacturer and she told me that they had no contract signed with this designer, only the purchase order which has been fulfilled.

How long must the manufacturer hold onto this furniture before they can repossess it and reclaim ownership because the designer failed to accept delivery?

The manufacturer does not have a policy in place for this, because quite frankly, no one typically pays for merchandise and then decides not to take possession of said merchandise. This designer has absolutely not one penny invested into this furniture and in essence is trying to hurt me and has taken advantage of the manufacturer's patience in waiting on her written release and occupying their warehouse storing the furniture.

We are in NC and my question is, by what jurisdiction can the manufacturer force her to either accept delivery of said furniture, or repossess and retain ownership?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Expert:  William B. Esq. replied 1 year ago.

CalAttorney2 :

Dear Customer, thank you for choosing Just Answer, I would like to assist you with your legal question today.

CalAttorney2 :

Your question is one of "principal/agency" law, meaning that the designer is acting solely as your agent in purchasing furniture, using your funds, and having that furniture delivered to your residence. (Just to ensure that we are talking about the same thing, my understanding is that the designer has not "advanced" any funds for this purchase and you have actually paid for this custom furniture).

CalAttorney2 :

The furniture is yours. You had an agent (the designer) purchase it for you, but it belongs to you. The manufacturer should be able to release the product to you as the buyer. Get a copy of whatever documents showing the furniture purchase (it is likely that any documentation shows you as the buyer, even if the designer is the contact).

CalAttorney2 :

If the designer is failing to fulfill her duties as your agent, there would be a cause of action against her for the delay (breach of contract).

CalAttorney2 :

Your venue for any dispute would likely be in North Carolina (in your county) as that is where a substantial portion of the contract is to be performed.

Customer:

No that is not the case. the designer ordered the furniture for me under her "company" name, and as such, the manufacturer can not release it to me because the ownership of said furniture is the designers. Even though I paid the designer with my check for the furniture, the designer deposited my funds in her account and paid the manufacturer with her business check. According to the manufacturer, she can not ship it to me even though my address is on the purchase order as the address where the furniture is to be shipped. It has the designers business name and my address on the purchase order.

CalAttorney2 :

My apologies, thank you for the clarification.

CalAttorney2 :

Your recourse is against the designer. If you cannot get her to work with you collegially, you can try working with the Better Business Bureau (the BBB offers low cost or free mediation services for consumers), and then you can file a civil claim against her for the breach of contract, and possibly conversion (holding your property without permission) depending on the exact circumstances of your contract with her.

Customer:

Thank you.... but I have already filed with the BBB, with the Attorney General, and the sheriffs department, all to no avail. I have also been to small claims court twice, and I am currently appealing my case in small claims. I am trying to find out the manufacturers recourse of action.

CalAttorney2 :

From what you have described, there does not appear to be a direct cause of action against the manufacturer. The manufacturer has not entered into contract with you (they entered into a contract with the designer), and they do not owe you any duty in the legal sense. As far as the length of time the manufacturer will hold furniture, that is a decision that they can make, there is no set period of time for them to hold product.

Customer:

Ok so basically what you are saying is that there is no law that determines how long the manufacturer must hold on to the furniture? I am on friendly terms with the manufacturer, and that is why I am trying to find out an answer for them. This designer is threatening them for talking directly with me, and they are concerned about being sued by her. I am just trying to determine what the manufacturer can do to force the designer's hand to either allow them to ship the furniture or what law allows the manufacturer to retain ownership of the property because client refused delivery?

CalAttorney2 :

The designer can't sue the manufacturer for talking to you. I highly doubt there is a confidentiality clause in the sales agreement.

CalAttorney2 :

I cannot give you specific legal advice through this forum, but the following may be helpful. The designer may give notice to the buyer (the designer) that the furniture will be returned to inventory absent pick-up in a certain amount of time due to storage restrictions and that due to the custom nature of the furniture the purchase price will not be refunded. This will of course return possession of the goods to the manufacturer (not you), and you may be able to work something out from there. Depending on the amount you paid for this furniture, you may want to speak with an attorney (even a consultation and a letter to the designer may be worthwhile).

Customer:

Thank you. I will pass the information along to the manufacturer. This designer is on a spiteful vengeance against me, and she does not care if I ever receive my furniture or if the manufacturer ever gets use of their warehouse space again. Like I stated earlier, the designer has nothing invested in the furniture purchase, she has already pocketed her profit from this sale! Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX your response.

CalAttorney2 :

You are welcome. I do wish you the very best of luck in this matter.

William B. Esq., Lawyer
Satisfied Customers: 3704
Experience: I am a civil litigation attorney with experience representing individuals and businesses.
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William B. Esq.
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I am a civil litigation attorney with experience representing individuals and businesses.