Types of Bailments

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A bailment is a temporary transfer of property to another for a limited time and for a specific purpose. Not all bailments are the same, but they generally share many of these characteristics:

Indefinite Term vs. Fixed Term

How long are the goods supposed to be held?  A person who deposits their items for a set amount of time and then doesn't come back for them may give up their rights to the property.  In this situation, it may be considered abandoned property.  But if there was never an agreement on how long the property was to stay, there is no abandonment unless the owner is given notice.

Involuntary vs. Voluntary

In a voluntary bailment, another person accepts responsibility for the items. In an involuntary bailment, someone ends up with the goods without ever intending to do so.  Involuntary bailments most commonly occur with dry cleaners and auto shops.  In these situation, the holder of the items must take care of them for a reasonable time period.   

Gratuitous, or For Consideration

Will the person holding the good be paid for their actions, or are they doing it for free?  If the person is being paid, they are doing  it for consideration and generally are held to a higher degree of responsibility than someone who is not being paid.  

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Last Modified: 09-16-2013 10:14 AM PDT

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