In an unstable economy, collecting on debts for goods sold to consumers on credit can become challenging. But it is also during these uncertain times when merchants have the most to lose as well.
Dealing with creditors and their unpaid bills is frustrating and time-consuming. Pursuing the debtor can often seem as if you are throwing good money after bad. If payment appears not to be forthcoming, should you try then to pursue the claim and delivery action of replevin?
Replevin is not possible with all creditor claims
With replevin, as opposed to monetary damages, creditors seek to have property returned. Therefore, there must be an actual physical item to recover, e.g., an automobile, jewelry, etc.
However, if you provided unrecoverable services to someone – plumbers or the dentist cleaning your teeth – replevin is not one of your viable recovery options.
Value can determine whether replevin is worthwhile
If you own a jewelry store and issued credit to a customer who purchased a designer watch or diamond jewelry but failed to settle the debt according to its terms, replevin could indeed be worth pursuing to recover all or part of your losses and damages.
When seeking replevin, there are other legalities to consider as well. Your customer likely made some payments on an account that might have been used to make other purchases. It would be difficult to establish at which point you as the creditor had more of an interest in the property than the debtor.
You might have to post a bond
Debts typically are disputed. Using sheriff’s seizures, replevin can return an item to you during the pendency of a legal proceeding. But first you must place a bond of its disputed value with the court. That is the guarantee that if they win, you will return their item(s).
When replevin isn’t worth your time and effort
If you are a boutique owner, you might be aggravated that one of your former customers quit making payments on her bill. Seeing her out and about in town wearing your unpaid inventory only worsens the situation.
But while pursuing replevin might still technically be possible, often it isn’t worthwhile. Learn about all your legal rights to pursue creditors.