In the UK are the any laws which stipulate what can be done when a repair is carried out on an item but not paid for?

I have been told that you can hold on to the item until payment is received but I don't know the law behind that.

Also, at any point, can you sell the item to reclaim costs?

The items I am interested in are laptops, Pcs, and other related electronic devices.

  • I just found this: canlii.org/en/bc/laws/stat/rsbc-1996-c-404/latest/… would this cover my question?
    – Terry
    Commented Nov 25, 2015 at 12:13
  • 1
    that's a Canadian website, it is not necessarily going to apply in the UK. Typically in the UK if a customer refuses to pay for a service delivered, you have to take them to a small claims court (although the threat is usually enough to make them cough up). Refusing to return a laptop you have repaired until the customer has paid is a grey area AFAIK. It also depends why the customer refuses to pay - do they question your work (because their rights as a customer cover that). Commented Nov 25, 2015 at 14:34

1 Answer 1


In the USA, there's a concept known as a "mechanic's lien." The lien applies to repairs done to a vehicle (an asset). In the USA, this applies over a broad class of items.

  • Is there anything similar in England and Wales?
    – Terry
    Commented Nov 26, 2015 at 11:24

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