What is retention of title?
When exactly does your customer become the owner of the goods you deliver? Is the client the owner from the moment of delivery, or not? The principle of 'retention of title' plays an important role here. In this article, we explain what it is and how to apply it.
Clarity on ownership of goods
Ownership of an item is normally transferred when the buyer and the seller have reached an agreement on the most important issues. The goods do not, therefore, have to have been paid for yet.
With retention of title, those agreements are made more concrete. This agreement between buyer and seller stipulates the conditions that the buyer must fulfil to become the owner of the goods. This usually concerns the payment of the invoice.
Waarom is een eigendomsvoorbehoud nuttig?
If you are selling goods, we recommend you include a retention of title in your general terms and conditions.
Why? Sometimes customers go bankrupt and find it difficult to pay or are no longer able to pay. In that case, it is useful to have a clause, in writing, stating that the ownership of the goods will only pass to the buyer after they have paid the invoice.
If your customer does not pay, the retention of title gives you the right to reclaim the goods.
How do you apply retention of title?
Do you want to be able to invoke retention of title? Then include it in a clause in your general or invoice terms and conditions. It is also best to mention it in your order forms, contracts, and quotations. You may legally apply retention of title only if there is zero doubt that your client was aware of it.
What if your customer suddenly goes bankrupt? Be sure to present your retention of title to the trustee. As long as the sold goods have not been paid for, they cannot be included in the bankruptcy. You have the right to get your delivery back in full.
> Do you want to avoid getting your hands on any money you are entitled to? Read our other tips.