Second – hand Trading – Forewarned is Forearmed

Trading in second-hand property is an admirable but risky business. It encourages re-use to the benefit of the environment, saves manufacturing emissions and prolongs the availability of precious resources. It helps people acquire things they need or want but may not be able to afford new, and it provides a source of cash without driving people into debt.

Though the vast majority of those you buy from are honest people with a genuine need and full legal title to whatever they are selling, the bad actors represent a disproportionate risk of revenue loss and maybe legal exposure to your business. Even the well-intentioned seller may be blissfully ignorant that some contract arrangement means they don’t have legal title to what they’re selling. Unfortunately, the good seller’s ignorance presents the same risk to you as the bad seller’s dishonesty.

To mitigate these risks, first know your seller. Make effective identity checks to confirm their name and address. Ask the right questions–do they own the property? Are they representing someone who owns it? Can you contact the owner? Do they have the original receipt? Obvious questions perhaps, but not asking such questions and obtaining written confirmation of the answers will make it very difficult for you to mount a defence if you should end up buying stolen property.

Intent is a requirement of many criminal offences; some laws though create a number of offences that do not require it. Simply contravening these laws may be sufficient for a court to convict. Such laws though do allow the defence of reasonable precautions or due diligence. While there is no absolute test for sufficient due diligence, one thing is for sure – doing nothing and relying on ignorance is no defence at all.

Some due diligence is better than none but be sure to ask yourself if you could have done better. Are you acting in the best interests of your customers, your shareholders and your staff (all of whom you have some duty of care to)? If you find yourself in court are you confident that you can demonstrate there is nothing more that would have been reasonable for you to do?

If you’re not sure you can answer that question, give us a call. We can help. For contact information: https://www.recipero.com/contact or to learn about due diligence checking of used consumer electronics visit https://www.checkmend.com/uk/trader/checking