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Possession of the goods of another without ownership. This may be voluntary. e.g. borrowing an article, or involuntary. e.g. having an item left on one’s premises by accident A bailee is if voluntary, expected to take care of the goods. The degree of care depends on circumstances. Problems appear frequently in contracts for repair. Generally e, the repairer is a voluntary bailee until time for collection. After this he is an involuntary bailee. As involuntary bailee he is not bound to take particular care but in most instances is nevertheless bound by statute law. This insists that he retain the goods for a period at the bailor’s expense. He may then, after advertising the sale in open market, sell. and after deducting costs must retain the net proceeds for a specified period.

Another common form of involuntary bailment occurs when goods are sent to a third party in the hope that he may purchase them. In such a case the recipient need take no care of the goods provided, he does not indicate acceptance of the offer. It is sufficient that he redirects the goods to the sender at the latter’s expense, or notifies him that the goods are not required and are to be removed forthwith. If they were perishable the bailee may be forced to dispose of them. He would then retain the net proceeds until the bailor collected them.

Reference: The Penguin Business Dictionary, 3rd edt.