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Thomas, Solicitor
Category: UK Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 7602
Experience:  BA (Hons), PgDip, Practising Solicitor
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My ex and I broke up at the Easter weekend. He did it by Email

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My ex and I broke up at the Easter weekend. He did it by Email but had left his iPad at my house. I let him know it was there by text. I took it to the post after Easter and mailed it to him, I didn't want him calling round for it he doesn't live local to me but plays golf near me on occasions so it wasn't an impossibility that he would do this. We didn't part well so seeing him in person wasn't something I wanted. I did not send it recorded or special delivery. A week later is hasn't turned up. He is now sending me threatening Emails saying he wants it back or compensation. Surely this is his job to claim not mine and am I still in any way liable for it?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: UK Family Law
Expert:  Thomas replied 5 years ago.
Thanks for your question.
To enable me to answer your question could you please respond to the following:-
1. Did he authorise you to post it back to him?
Kind regards.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I sent it back myself, but he also sent me an envelope to return it to him in which arrived a couple of days after I had mailed it already.
Expert:  Thomas replied 5 years ago.
Did he give you instructions in the envelope her sent to you that he was happy for it to be sent by normal first class post and not by recorded/special delivery?

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I had already mailed it already by the time I received his note enclosing an envelope with a cheque to cover postage. I did not send it recorded so have no proof it was sent. He did ask me to send it recorded but by this time it had already been in the mail 3 days.

He is asking for it back but if I don't have it anymore and have no proof of postage which at the time I had no obligation to do. I was merely returning his item. Where do I stand if he pursues this?
Expert:  Thomas replied 5 years ago.

Thanks for your reply
My advice right now would be to do nothing. You would be astonished by the lengths of time it has taken some first class mail to reach my from other solicitors and it may be that it turns up and the problem is solved.
He cannot get any money back from you unless he issues a claim. So unless he does that it’s a complete non-starter.
If he issued a claim it would be on the basis of alleged negligence. He would have to prove that your breached a duty of care you had to him and this would fall upon whether or not the Court interpreted you sending the item back by first class post.
You would have to litigate on the points, but he would probably claim that a reasonable person would consider sending an expensive item back via either recorded delivery or by special delivery. Your argument would be that first class delivery is a valid and reliable form of postage and that you should not be held liable for the losses because the loss itself is too remote.

It really is a debatable point. I would say that you have a fighting chance of defending the claim, his solicitor would say that he also has a fighting chance. He would be unlikely to get costs against you because it is certainly debatable so he would have to pay the costs of litigation against you which are probably higher than the value of the item itself so it may be he takes a pragmatic view and decides not to proceed, though probably strikes you from his Christmas card list.
You’re going to see how this one plays out but you should not consider simply paying up in my opinion. If he issues a claim and then decides of offer you a settlement then if it were much reduced from the value of the item then I might (might) be inclined to settle depending on how motivated he is to pursue the claim and well organised/argued his case appears to be during litigation
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Kind regards,

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thank you,

so basically do nothing - should I even reply to his Email I received today which stated (verbatim)
Thank you for returning my note. Unfortunately, you will be hearing from me again unless the iPad turns up. I suggest you contact Royal Mail and try and locate it.

Without proof of sending I will expect it to appear or be compensated for its loss.

Do I therefore have no responsibility to chase this up with Royal Mail? Should I reply at all or just reply along the lines of that I sent it back and as far as I am concerned the matter is closed and out of my hands. Should he wish to take it up with Royal Mail or elsewhere that is up to him.

Having asked him once already to leave me alone should I stick by my wish and not reply or acknowledge - I suspect this may only aggravate him but then do not want to commit in writing anything that he may use against me later?

Would appreciate knowing how to deal with this next step and retain my legal position so to speak.

Expert:  Thomas replied 5 years ago.
Hi Marie,

You can give royal mail a call, but if it's first class post then there's no way they would have tracked it. Compensation is available from Royal Mail only in the case of Special Delivery.

I would reply saying that he did not give you instructions on how he wished it returned to him within a reasonable time and that you sent it back by first class post which you maintain is a valid form of postage and that, yes, you consider the matter closed and request that he ceases to contact you. If the aforementioned is true then it does not prejudice your postion at a later date in my view because it's a summary of what your argument would be in Court anyway.

If you consider that doing nothing would aggravate him less then you could opt for this, but that'a matter that you're best placed to decide because you know him best.

Trust this clarifies, please click acccept.

Kind regards,

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