Retention of title

As a supplier, you have the possibility to deliver your goods under the retention of title. This means that the goods will legally remain under your property until your customer has paid all invoices. Only once the entire costs have been made will your customer become the owner of the goods. The retention of title is therefore a powerful tool you can incorporate in your terms and conditions. Our lawyers explain more below.

Establishing a retention of title

In your general terms and conditions, you can make agreements concerning the retention of the title. If no agreements have been made, then your customer will be the legal owner of the goods at the time of delivery, even if the payment has not been completed by then. In that case, you can no longer claim the delivered goods if your have not received the payment.

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Retention of title during bankruptcies

Has your customer been declared bankrupt before your invoices have been paid? If you have agreed on a retention of title in your terms and conditions, then you can retrieve your goods, even in the case of bankruptcies. You will then have to contact the liquidator and inform them that you have delivered goods under the retention of title. The liquidator will then make the necessary arrangements.

Important considerations

It is important to note that in some cases, even if retention of title has been agreed upon, you can no longer repossess the goods. This can happen if the goods are not identifiable or if they have already been resold.

If the same products have been ordered from several suppliers, they may get mixed up. The products can no longer be identified as yours which is why it is also important to include a serial number to ensure that your goods can be identified.

If the products that you delivered have been processed into a new product, then according to some laws you can no longer invoke the retention of title. For example, say your company supplied wood to a buyer who makes furniture. If the invoice had not been made while the wood has been processed into chairs, you cannot lay a claim. Similarly, say your company supplies a part of a machinery. You have not received the invoice, but the equipment has been mounted on the machine. In this case, you can no longer confiscate the goods. If your customer has resold the products, then you can also no longer invoke the retention of title.

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