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Selling Items Which Are Not in One’s Possession

Question

What is the ruling of the following transactions?

A (the customer) places an order of 10 000 bricks from B (the hardware store). B (the hardware store) does not have the bricks. Hence, B (the hardware store) orders it from C (the brick company). B (the hardware store) doesn’t take possession of it and instructs C (the brick company) to drop it off at A (the customer).

1. A (the customer) orders 10 000 bricks and pays for it in cash to B (the hardware store). B (the hardware store) then orders it from C (the brick company) and pays for it in cash. Then B (the hardware store) tells C to drop it off at A (the customer).

2. A (the customer) orders 10 000 bricks from B (the hardware store) on account. B (the hardware store) then orders it from C (the brick company) on account and tells C to drop it off at A (the customer).

3. A (the customer) orders 10 000 bricks from B (the hardware store) and pays for it in cash. B (the hardware store) then orders it from C (the brick company) on account and tells C to drop it off at A (the customer).

4. Same as the above mentioned scenarios, but instead of C (the brick company) dropping it off at A (the customer). B instructs D (his driver) to drop it off at A (the customer).

5. Same as the above scenarios, but instead of C (the brick company) dropping it off at A (the customer). B instructs E (the courier company) to drop it off at A (the customer).

6. Same as the above scenarios, but C (the brick company) instructs E ( the courier company) to drop it off at A (the customer).

Would there be a difference in the ruling if the same transections as the above takes place in small items e.g. instead of bricks the item which is sold is pens?

Would there be a difference in the ruling if the same transections as the above takes place in consumable items e.g. instead of bricks the item which is sold is fruits, vegetables and animals?

If any of the above listed transactions are impermissible, what will be the correct method to adopt so that the transaction could be permissible?

Answer

1. In the first scenario, if the hardware store appointed the delivery person (whether employed by the brick company or otherwise) as his representative to receive the bricks (on his behalf) and then deliver it to his client then the transaction will be in order.

2. In the second scenario, the hardware store should keep the client’s money as Amaanat and not conclude the transaction. The hardware store may then appoint the delivery person as his representative to receive the goods from the brick company and deliver it to his client. Now, that the client has received the goods, he may come into the hardware store once again, take his Amaanat and pay for the bricks. This scenario too will be in order. 

3. In the third scenario, the client ordered bricks. However, the deal was not concluded and finalized. The hardware store purchases the bricks from the brick company (on account) and appoints the delivery person to receive and deliver the goods to the client on its behalf. When the client receives the goods and signs the invoice (with the transaction details and stipulated payment terms) then the transaction has been concluded. The client will then pay the hardware store according to the stipulated terms and conditions. This is in order.         

4. The fourth scenario is similar to the second scenario. The hardware store should keep the funds as Amaanat as explained in #2. Once the hardware store’s appointed agent delivers the bricks and the client receives the bricks, the client should return to the store, take possession of his Amaanat and pay his bill.

5. In the case where the hardware store’s driver is appointed to pick up the goods, then his pick up will be considered as taking possession on behalf of the hardware store. He will then deliver on behalf of the hardware store to the customer. This aspect of the transaction is in order. However, as far as the payment is concerned, if the client paid cash then it will be treated as Amaanat as explained above, and if the client merely ordered the goods, then the transaction will be finalized on delivery and it is necessary that the transaction details with the stipulated payment terms are recorded on the invoice as we have explained above.

6. If the hardware store appoints a courier company to pick up and deliver then the exact scenarios as explained in #1-4 will applicable.

7. If the brick company arranges the transport from their side, it is necessary for the hardware store to appoint the delivery person (utilized by the brick company) as its representative to receive and deliver the goods to his client for the transaction to be in order.

8. The same rulings will be applicable to all goods of merchandise whether fruit, vegetable, animals, etc.

9. We have discussed the correct method of transacting in the above discussion. We are sure than you are aware that if the above procedures are not implemented then many of the transactions fall in the category of ‘Bay-Qablal-Qabdh’ (selling an item before taking possession of it) which will render the transaction as corrupt (Faasid).       

References

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