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Gephardt: What If Business Shuts Down With Your Stuff?

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Businesses all over the country have been forced to shut down temporarily because of the coronavirus pandemic. What happens if a business shuts down and they have your stuff?

Consumers drop off things like cars at the mechanic, computers at the repair shop and clothes at the dry cleaner.

At Trailside Cleaners in Sugarhouse, business has slowed to a crawl. People working from home don’t need pressed shirts.

“Things have gone down and it’s getting slower,” said Helen Marie Brough, who has worked there for more than 20 years. “I got word that we are reducing the hours, and it may come down to (closing) the doors if they can’t afford to pay everyone.”

If a store closes with your property inside, the law is clear. It says your property is your property and you are entitled to it.

In normal times, there’s a legal process where you can sue a company and its owners, and a judge can compel them to hand your stuff over.

These are not normal times.

The Better Business Bureau has offered some advice for consumers when a company closes but hasn’t gone out of business.

  • Send the company a letter because their mail may be forwarded to the owner.
  • You can physically go to the store to see if a message was left on the door for customers.
  • Contact law enforcement as a last resort.

At Trailside, Helen Marie says they are hoping to stay open but they are already having conversations about what they can do for their customers.

“There will be a note on the door as to who you can contact, and they will probably just run over and get your things for you,” Marie said. “The rest of us probably won’t be coming in.”

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