Code of the District of Columbia

§ 28:2-505. Seller’s shipment under reservation.

(1) Where the seller has identified goods to the contract by or before shipment:

(a) his procurement of a negotiable bill of lading to his own order or otherwise reserves in him a security interest in the goods. His procurement of the bill to the order of a financing agency or of the buyer indicates in addition only the seller’s expectation of transferring that interest to the person named.

(b) a non-negotiable bill of lading to himself or his nominee reserves possession or control of the goods as security but except in a case of conditional delivery (subsection (2) of section 28:2-507) a non-negotiable bill of lading naming the buyer as consignee reserves no security interest even though the seller retains possession or control of the bill of lading.

(2) When shipment by the seller with reservation of a security interest is in violation of the contract for sale it constitutes an improper contract for transportation within the preceding section but impairs neither the rights given to the buyer by shipment and identification of the goods to the contract nor the seller’s powers as a holder of a negotiable document.


(Dec. 30, 1963, 77 Stat. 656, Pub. L. 88-243, § 1; Apr. 27, 2013, D.C. Law 19-299, § 3(i), 60 DCR 2634.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 28:2-505.

1973 Ed., § 28:2-505.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 28:1-201 and § 28:2-509.

Effect of Amendments

The 2013 amendment by D.C. Law 19-299 substituted “possession or control” for “possession” twice in (1)(b).

Uniform Commercial Code Comment

Prior Uniform Statutory Provision: Section 20(2), (3), (4), Uniform Sales Act.

Changes: Completely rephrased, the “powers” of the parties in cases of reservation being emphasized primarily rather than the “rightfulness” of reservation.

Purposes of Changes: To continue in general the policy of the prior uniform statutory provision with certain modifications of emphasis and language, so that:

1. The security interest reserved to the seller under subsection (1) is restricted to securing payment or performance by the buyer and the seller is strictly limited in his disposition and control of the goods as against the buyer and third parties. Under this Article, the provision as to the passing of interest expressly applies “despite any reservation of security title” and also provides that the “rights, obligations and remedies” of the parties are not altered by the incidence of title generally. The security interest, therefore, must be regarded as a means given to the seller to enforce his rights against the buyer which is unaffected by and in turn does not affect the location of title generally. The rules set forth in subsection (1) are not to be altered by any apparent “contrary intent” of the parties as to passing of title, since the rights and remedies of the parties to the contract of sale, as defined in this Article, rest on the contract and its performance or breach and not on stereotyped presumptions as to the location of title.

This Article does not attempt to regulate local procedure in regard to the effective maintenance of the seller’s security interest when the action is in replevin by the buyer against the carrier.

2. Every shipment of identified goods under a negotiable bill of lading reserves a security interest in the seller under subsection (1) paragraph (a).

It is frequently convenient for the seller to make the bill of lading to the order of a nominee such as his agent at destination, the financing agency to which he expects to negotiate the document or the bank issuing a credit to him. In many instances, also, the buyer is made the order party. This Article does not deal directly with the question as to whether a bill of lading made out by the seller to the order of a nominee gives the carrier notice of any rights which the nominee may have so as to limit its freedom or obligation to honor the bill of lading in the hands of the seller as the original shipper if the expected negotiation fails. This is dealt with in the Article on Documents of Title (Article 7).

3. A non-negotiable bill of lading taken to a party other than the buyer under subsection (1) paragraph (b) reserves possession of the goods as security in the seller but if he seeks to withhold the goods improperly the buyer can tender payment and recover them.

4. In the case of a shipment by non-negotiable bill of lading taken to a buyer, the seller, under subsection (1) retains no security interest or possession as against the buyer and by the shipment he de facto loses control as against the carrier except where he rightfully and effectively stops delivery in transit. In cases in which the contract gives the seller the right to payment against delivery, the seller, by making an immediate demand for payment, can show that his delivery is conditional, but this does not prevent the buyer’s power to transfer full title to a sub-buyer in ordinary course or other purchaser under Section 2-403.

5. Under subsection (2) an improper reservation by the seller which would constitute a breach in no way impairs such of the buyer’s rights as result from identification of the goods. The security title reserved by the seller under subsection (1) does not protect his holding of the document or the goods for the purpose of exacting more than is due him under the contract.

Cross References: Point 1: Section 1-201.

Point 2: Article 7.

Point 3: Sections 2-501(2) and 2-504.

Point 4: Sections 2-403, 2-507(2) and 2-705.

Point 5: Sections 2-310, 2-319(4), 2-320(4), 2-501 and 2-502 and Article 7.

Definitional Cross References: “Bill of lading”. Section 1-201.

“Buyer”. Section 2-103.

“Consignee” Section 7-102.

“Contract”. Section 1-201.

“Contract for sale”. Section 2-106.

“Delivery”. Section 1-201.

“Financing agency”. Section 2-104.

“Goods”. Section 2-105.

“Holder”. Section 1-201.

“Person”. Section 1-201.

“Security interest”. Section 1-201.

“Seller”. Section 2-103.