Code of the District of Columbia

§ 28:2-705. Seller’s stoppage of delivery in transit or otherwise.

(1) The seller may stop delivery of goods in the possession of a carrier or other bailee when he discovers the buyer to be insolvent (section 28:2-702) and may stop delivery of carload, truckload, planeload or larger shipments of express or freight when the buyer repudiates or fails to make a payment due before delivery or if for any other reason the seller has a right to withhold or reclaim the goods.

(2) As against such buyer the seller may stop delivery until

(a) receipt of the goods by the buyer; or

(b) acknowledgement to the buyer by any bailee of the goods except a carrier that the bailee holds the goods for the buyer; or

(c) such acknowledgment to the buyer by a carrier by reshipment or as warehouseman; or

(d) negotiation to the buyer of any negotiable document of title covering the goods.

(3)(a) To stop delivery the seller must so notify as to enable the bailee by reasonable diligence to prevent delivery of the goods.

(b) After such notification the bailee must hold and deliver the goods according to the directions of the seller but the seller is liable to the bailee for any ensuing charges or damages.

(c) If a negotiable document of title has been issued for goods the bailee is not obliged to obey a notification to stop until surrender of possession or control of the document.

(d) A carrier who has issued a non-negotiable bill of lading is not obliged to obey a notification to stop received from a person other than the consignor.

(Dec. 30, 1963, 77 Stat. 665, Pub. L. 88-243, § 1; Apr. 27, 2013, D.C. Law 19-299, §§ 3(m), 3(n), 60 DCR 2634.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 28:2-705.

1973 Ed., § 28:2-705.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 28:2-702, § 28:2-703, § 28:2-707, § 28:7-403, and § 28:7-504.

Effect of Amendments

The 2013 amendment by D.C. Law 19-299 substituted “a warehouse” for “warehouseman” in (2)(c).

The 2013 amendment by D.C. Law 19-299 inserted “of possession or control” following “surrender” in (3)(c).

Uniform Commercial Code Comment

Prior Uniform Statutory Provision:Sections 57-59, Uniform Sales Act; see also Sections 12, 14 and 42, Uniform Bills of Lading Act and Sections 9, 11 and 49, Uniform Warehouse Receipts Act.

Changes: This section continues and develops the above sections of the Uniform Sales Act in the light of the other uniform statutory provisions noted.

Purposes: To make it clear that:

1. Subsection (1) applies the stoppage principle to other bailees as well as carriers.

It also expands the remedy to cover the situations, in addition to buyer’s insolvency, specified in the subsection. But since stoppage is a burden in any case to carriers, and might be a very heavy burden to them if it covered all small shipments in all these situations, the right to stop for reasons other than insolvency is limited to carload, truckload, planeload or larger shipments. The seller shipping to a buyer of doubtful credit can protect himself by shipping C.O.D.

Where stoppage occurs for insecurity it is merely a suspension of performance, and if assurances are duly forthcoming from the buyer the seller is not entitled to resell or divert.

Improper stoppage is a breach by the seller if it effectively interferes with the buyer’s right to due tender under the section on manner of tender of delivery. However, if the bailee obeys an unjustified order to stop he may also be liable to the buyer. The measure of his obligation is dependent on the provisions of the Documents of Title Article ( Section 7-303). Subsection 3(b) therefore gives him a right of indemnity as against the seller in such a case.

2. “Receipt by the buyer” includes receipt by the buyer’s designated representative, the subpurchaser, when shipment is made direct to him and the buyer himself never receives the goods. It is entirely proper under this Article that the seller, by making such direct shipment to the sub-purchaser, be regarded as acquiescing in the latter’s purchase and as thus barred from stoppage of the goods as against him.

As between the buyer and the seller, the latter’s right to stop the goods at any time until they reach the place of final delivery is recognized by this section.

Under subsection (3)(c) and (d), the carrier is under no duty to recognize the stop order of a person who is a stranger to the carrier’s contract. But the seller’s right as against the buyer to stop delivery remains, whether or not the carrier is obligated to recognize the stop order. If the carrier does obey it, the buyer cannot complain merely because of that circumstance; and the seller becomes obligated under subsection (3)(b) to pay the carrier any ensuing damages or charges.

3. A diversion of a shipment is not a “reshipment” under subsection (2)(c) when it is merely an incident to the original contract of transportation. Nor is the procurement of “exchange bills” of lading which change only the name of the consignee to that of the buyer’s local agent but do not alter the destination of a reshipment.

Acknowledgment by the carrier as a “warehouseman” within the meaning of this Article requires a contract of a truly different character from the original shipment, a contract not in extension of transit but as a warehouseman.

4. Subsection (3)(c) makes the bailee’s obedience of a notification to stop conditional upon the surrender of any outstanding negotiable document.

5. Any charges or losses incurred by the carrier in following the seller’s orders, whether or not he was obligated to do so, fall to the seller’s charge.

6. After an effective stoppage under this section the seller’s rights in the goods are the same as if he had never made a delivery.

Cross References:Sections 2-702 and 2-703.

Point 1: Sections 2-503 and 2-609, and Article 7.

Point 2: Section 2-103 and Article 7.

Definitional Cross References: “Buyer”. Section 2-103.

“Contract for sale”. Section 2-106.

“Document of title”. Section 1-201.

“Goods”. Section 2-105.

“Insolvent”. Section 1-201.

“Notification”. Section 1-201.

“Receipt” of goods. Section 2-103.

“Rights”. Section 1-201.

“Seller”. Section 2-103.