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Dave Kennett
Dave Kennett, Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 27689
Experience:  25 years practicing law
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I own a small wholesale business. I supply small grocery stores

Resolved Question:

I own a small wholesale business. I supply small grocery stores with a freezer and sell them my ice cream product to be placed in the freezer. There have been occasions when the owner of the grocery store refuses to give me my freezer back at the end of the contract. The grocery store owner calls the police and the police threaten to arrest me for stealing and trespassing and that if I want my freezer then I have to go through small claims court. Why am I not allowed to take back what is rightfully mine?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Business Law
Expert:  Dave Kennett replied 5 years ago.
Dear JACUSTOMER - This is because we have laws regarding the reclamation of property held by others if there is no security interest held by the lender such as vehicles or other property that can be repossessed without a court action. In the case of unsecured property you must file an action in "replevin" in order to retrieve you property if held by another. Much of the reason for this is both to avoided physical confrontation and to insure the rightful ownership of property. You may be able to create a security agreement in the form of a chattel mortgage that would be signed by the store owners giving you a security interest in the freezers which would then entitle you to repossess them under the security documents. Otherwise you will have to use the civil court system to retrieve your freezers.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
To file an action in replevin, do I go to the local court in which the grocery store is located and state that I need to file an action in replevin? This seems like it may be more efficient/effective than small claims.
Expert:  Dave Kennett replied 5 years ago.
Yes, small claims is for the purpose of collecting money and they would not have the jurisdiction over a replevin action. That requires an order from a general division court judge to have property returned, much like an injunction. Once you obtain a writ of replevin you can get assistance from the court to retrieve your property.
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