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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
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Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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My friend posted me my spare house key by the ordinary post

Resolved Question:

My friend posted me my spare house key by the ordinary post (without any tracking means) and the envelope went missing. As the envelope contained not just my house-key but my name and identity, I am now having to replace all the locks of the house which will cost me around £800. She thinks it is nothing unusual in posting the housekey by the ordinary post and does not think she'd done anything wrong. Therefore, she does not feel responsible for all the damages and stresses I am going through. Can I make her pay for the expense?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Hi.

Thank you for your question. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will try to help with this.

If it was one key why are you replacing all the locks?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

???? I do not understand your question. A key is the small metal device which you carry in your bag to open the lock to the house through the keyhole. A person only needs one key to enter the house without breaking in with force. If a key is stolen, then, the house is totally unsecure. I have two doors in the house but both doors work with the same key because the locks are identical. There are three locks (i.e. three keyholes) in total in the house. These locks are expensive because they are security keys (protected from unauthorised copying). Are you really seriously answering to my question?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Thanks.

I think I will opt out.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Relist: Answer quality.
I do not think she responded?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 3 years ago.
Hello, my name is XXXXX XXXXX I will try and answer your query instead. Can you please let me know why she had your key and why she posted it? Also did you specifically ask her to post it via recorded delivery?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

She was a long standing friend who held my spare housekey for long (4+ years). But, we got estranged over time and I suspected that she may be having a difficult time. I asked her to return the key in January which she agreed to give it to me in person, so we arranged a dinner. But she forgot to bring it to the dinner. I said to her that she could give it back to me when we meet again, but she insisted that she would post to me.


 


I asked her to send it as business mail from her employer as she suggested to send to my work address. My intention is of course that the key is returned to me by trackable means, because the courier sent between two businesses are always trackable. Instead of doing it, she posted to my employer by the normal mail, and she thought it was more secure.


 


I work at the building where 9,000 people work (HSBC head quarter building) and the normal mail gets lost all the time unless it is recorded. So, it is not a big surprise for me when the mail got eventually lost.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 3 years ago.
When you say your details were on it, it was obviously your name and works address but was the property's address also included?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
No. Correct. My property address is not included.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 3 years ago.
ok so if the keys had been lost in the post and some random person had found them, how would they have had knowledge of which property they belong to?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Can you answer to my question please?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 3 years ago.
I can but I need this preliminary information because that will affect your rights
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
In the worst case scenario, the address can always be found by employers system. Criminals at all levels are known to operate in Canary Wharf area where my employer is. Criminals are also known to operate within my employers building- there are 9,000plus people in the HSBC head quarter building.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 3 years ago.
I must advise you in advance that the answer may not be what you were hoping for but I obviously have to tell you your legal position as it is rather than mislead you just to tell you what you may want to hear.

If you wanted to pursue your friend for the costs you have incurred, then you must show that she owed you a duty of care, she breached that duty and that her breach had resulted in losses, which were reasonably foreseeable.

Whilst you may be able to show that she wed you a duty because she had your keys and was entrusted in looking after them, it is highly unlikely that you can claim she had breached that duty by posting the keys via normal post rather than tracked delivery. The negligence would have been by the postal company for losing the key, not the friend for posting it normal post. There is nothing in law that states certain items have to be posted by specific postal methods so it is down to the individuals to decide that and even with a tracked method there would have been a possibility that the keys would have been lost. I have had at least two items lost when they were sent by tracked delivery and they could never be traced - no–one knows where they ended up, so it would not have provided a guarantee that no loss would have occurred.

Whilst you can certainly approach the person and ask them to reimburse you for the costs you have incurred, if they refuse then your only option is to take the matter to court, but it would entirely down to you to prove the elements for a successful claim as mentioned in my second paragraph above.

You can take the matter to the small claims court if you want – you claim via www.moneyclaim.gov.uk and even if you lose, the costs you would have spent in the process would not have been that high.

I hope this has answered your query. Please take a second to leave a positive rating, or if you need me to clarify anything before you go - please get back to me and I will assist further as best as I can. Thank you and feel free to bookmark my profile for future help:


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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thanks.


 


But, how can you say that the royal mail is the only person which can be held responsible for the loss if there isn't even a proof that the key is actually posted? I am only relying on the text messages from her saying that she posted it.


 


Isn't the point being that the key disappeared from her possession? Or, she may have had already lost the key when I asked back and the posting never occurred? People only use the tracked mail so that the responsibility is shifted from the sender. If there is no proof of posting, then, how can the responsibility shift from the sender to the royal mail?


 


If she had simply lost the key, would the answer anywhere different?


 

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 3 years ago.
the responsibility would have shifted when the item was posted but without proof then it is a matter of fact really whether the keys were actually posted. It is going to be your word against hers in that case and only a court can decide who they believe is telling the truth, so that is why there will always be a risk with going down that route, of course if it is the only option left then you may have to do it anyway.

the answer if she had lost the keys would be similar but you still have to show that she was negligent in the loss, so for example if it was not her fault and she was not negligent then it would again be difficult to place the blame on her
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 47336
Experience: Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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