used Coke branded cooler - repossssion issue

I just got an email from a rep at CC saying that they are going to schedule a “pickup” of an old cooler they spotted in our shop a couple months ago when they started a new service with us. Has anyone been through this, and is there any successful way to fight this?

Some background is in order. I bought a used cooler in 2004 from a reputable equipment shop. It is not in good shape at all in terms of re-use by the corporation claiming it. It fits my needs, though in my shop. We prep and stock into that cooler for reloading the work stations. I have a bill of sale for this cooler, and the seller has said that they keep affidavits for equipment that they take in and resell. Dealer said I should demand a police report stating this was a stolen piece of equipment and not an ‘abandoned’ one to which they have no rights. I don’t want to get into a p*ssing match with Coca-Cola, but now is not the time for me to go buying a new cooler when I have one that works fine and I paid money for.

Anyone got anything out there that has worked?

I would just email them back what you told us…and tell them they are more than welcome to come and pick up copies of your bill of sale etc.

I don’t think you are causing a stink. I would mention in the email you would like a copy of the police report so you can sue the guy who sold it to you.


Nick as I recall you used to be in the “law” business…

As far as Cokes claim to it, they are probably right…Now you may be able to get it back in time but sometimes the cost of “winning” is more than the prize…You can spend a lot of money on lawyers and a lot of your own time to “win”…But that may be more than it is worth…

I would “appeal” to your Coke rep and plead your case…See if you can work something out…Remember, they need your business as much as you need the cooler…

PS…Years back we had a Pepsi cooler in our shop and we had not been buying direct from Pepsi…So one day the rep comes by and says they want their cooler back…In his presence I asked my staff to clear out the cooler and put it outside…The rep said he would make arrangements to pick it up but we should keep it inside until then…I said it was his and he could look after it himself…He made a quick phone call and a few minutes later we had a fax saying they were giving to us…

Kris and Royce, thanks for the input so far. Please, ANY other feedback is very welcome in figuring out my plans.

I have done a couple things so far.

  1. Called equipment distributor a month or so ago to let him know I may come to him for selling me a potentially stolen machine. He impressed me saying that I have a bill of sale and should fight Coke. He would want a chance to talk to them before I give up the machine. He states they get affidavits of ownership any time they take in used equipment, so we’ll be possibly in the argument together on the same side to start with. He cannot afford bad press of selling “hot” goods.

  2. Sent email response to Coke rep today explaining my position and asking for their documentation as Kris suggested. I went with the “appeal” tone that Royce talked about. I used this sentence: "I will not argue with lawful recovery of property . . . that is not what we do. I do, however, want to establish that it is a lawful recovery and not a matter of my not doing due diligence. " I anticipate we can figure this out like businessmen and mae everyone “whole” in the outcome.

  3. Started preparing a follow up message to recommend a “compromise solution”. I am certain that they are about eliminating liability and pushing more products into the marketplace. That’s what we all do. I want to find a way to package a suggestion whereby I remove all identifying markers of their company, sign indemnification for any future liability regarding this equipment, and see if they will negotiate on this matter. The thing was manufactured in 1998, for goodness sake. It’s useable life is spent, and depreciated off long ago.

  4. Disaster case scenario, we can cancel our new product contract, which we don’t have any desire to do. Then, we can go to the LOCAL Pepsico distributor and get their equipment in place for our beverage vending machine outside and small glass door merchandiser in shop. Sure, we are still out the GDM-45 . . . but we don’t subsidize the company who took it.

We had a situation similar to Royce a few years back. I had both Pepsi and Coke vending machines outside our store and sold good amounts of product out of each. The Coke route guy came every 2 weeks, serviced the machine and split our “winnings” no questions asked. The Pepsi route guy NEVER showed up. I have a respectable addition to Diet Pepsi so I made sure we purchased Pepsi product whereever we could find the best price in town just to keep the machine filled up.

I got a call one day out of the blue from Pepsi really riding me on the fact that 'we hadn’t purchased ANY of their product from their route guy in over 4 years" so they were pulling their machine. I (moderatly calmly) suggested they might want to hire a new route guy b/c I hadn’t bought from him precicsely b/c he hadn’t SHOWED UP in over 4 years!

He then started to sputter about getting it corrected and all, but at that point by Irish was up so I told him “come get it” and emptied it and unplugged it. Their truck came around about 3 weeks later and actually sent a guy in to “get their money”…we had a nice conversation about that one!

Anyway, this is my long rambling way of saying…call their bluff. They need that machine in your store more than you do, especially once you make it clear you continueing to vend their product is dependent on it…and btw, “I want a new one”…

You may be surprised! A coffee-house friend down the street from me had a similar run in with Coke b/c she was selling Jones sodas out of it as well. She told them to pull it, she’d be happy switching to Pepsi. They were quick to compromise that she could sell Jones, but only off the bottom row! :lol:

Did the get the serial number off of it? How do they know it belongs to them if they haven’t inspected it?

I play hardball with vendors, so if they won’t bend I would tell them that you need to schedule the pickup at the same time your new Pepsi equipment is being delivered. That way they can take all of their equipment with them at one time.

Coke recently tried to pull my cooler and replace it with a smaller one because I hold beer and salads in it besides their products. The cooler is prominently displayed in my store for all customers to see. I told them to forget the smaller cooler… I’d just run down the the restaurant supply store any buy my own pretty stainless steel cooler and they could take their branded one out. Their reply was “Let’s not get crazy, we don’t want that!” Their big cooler is still sitting at my counter, and still has the beer and salads in it.

I had a Pepsi cooler here for years that was listed with the equipment I purchased when I bought the store. It did have a metal tag stating “Property of Pepsi Cola Bottling Co.”. I had it tweaked up to 50 to 55 degrees to keep tomatos peppers and basil. One day, a Pepsi rep comes in and asks about a cooler that their records show was at this location. I could not deny it because it was in plain sight. I tried to buy it for $100.00 since it was old, and it would save them the trouble of picking it up and cleaning it up and such. I would not even charge them for storing the thing for 4 or 5 years :smiley: . No deal. They came and got it a week later.
I might have had more leverage if we were selling Pepsi instead of Coke.


Pepsi caught me this week in a pizzed off mood and try to tell me that I had to purchase some cans from them once in a while(I buy cans from Sams). I don’t even have a pepsi cooler, I have my own. I told them to cancel my order that I would get coke to deliver my 60 cases of 2 liters before the weekend. My reps immediate response was exactly the same, “let’s not get crazy”. He quickly changed tune and decided there was no need to buy cans from them.

There is an old saying that possession is 9/10s of the law. I would tell them to kizz my azzz. there is no police officer who would allow them to repo the cooler. You have a bill of sale. You own it. If they feel otherwise, they will have to take legal action with the courts and get a judge to decide it is theirs. Even if they had a UCC lien filed at one time that may or may not hold up. Not long ago a local place stopped paying their tangible taxes. The county tax collector auctioned off everything and the bank who had a lien on the equipment, and coke who owned their equipment got screwed. The new owners of the equipment(me) got clear title to everything they bought at the auction.

Do you folks who want to play “hardball” treat your suppliers and clients that way?..And if you switch from Coke to Pepsi will your clients support you?..And once Pepsi has you will they “squeeze” you because they know you probably can not go back to Coke?..This a “freaking” Coke cooler and does not need to be dealt with like it is “life or death”…

It may seem to be “just a cooler” but when it is in use in your operation and they show up and threaten that they are going to take it, it becomes important. When I buy something I don’t like to be threatened. I will play hardball with a supplier if that is the way they want to be. Coke and Pepsi are two of the worst customer service companys I have ever seen. The MBA classes should do a study of “how not to run a business” and both companies could be the stars of the study.

Unfortunately Nick is in the middle of a “mess”…But the point remains that this cooler may very well be Coke’s property and using a “reasonable” approach is a far better way to resolve this than “hardball”…

Not my clients… but yes, I play “hardball” with my suppliers. If you don’t, they will be more than happy to walk all over you.

If I treated my customers like Coke, Pepsi or Sysco treats theirs I would have been out of business a long time ago. They do it because you don’t have any other choices.

That is sad…I did not realize buying groceries was now a “contact sport”…lol…

apologies to Nick for a slight hijack of the thread, but you guys must all realize that you are not the customers that Coke or Pepsi are worried about. My customers could give a rats behind what difficulties I have dealing with Coke, they just want a cold coke or sprite or whatever to drink with their pizza. Coke markets to the end consumer and that is the person they care about. I am sure Pepsi is not much better. The issues we have with these companies do not affect the consumers impression of the company or their desire to purchase the product.

If you only knew how much dealing with suppliers has gone down hill even in the short 4 years that I have been doing it you would shake your head. My main suppliers rep has physically been in my store 4 times in the last year. I have to push to get credit for picking errors and it takes for ever. So yes Royce buying groceries is indeed a contact sport.

An outsider looking in…perhaps they are wanting to play hardball with you in an attempt to get a new cooler in your business?

Simply put, a bill of sale is a bill of sale.

I would call your local police department and give them a heads up on the possibility of a civil dispute call at your location (if Coke shows up to take your cooler), and see if they can run a serial number check to see if it was ever reported stolen, and ask them to advise you what to do.

If it was not, and you have the bill of sale, they cannot force you into giving up something that is yours…and if they feel that it IS theirs, then THEY need to take you to court.

Civil wise, the dispute would need to be taken to court, but if they come to try to reposess the cooler, then you need to call the police for disturbing the peace and have them ask Coke to leave.

This is an interesting thought . . . but this is a prepped stock cooler for me that carries zero soft drinks. Only onions, wing sauces, mushrooms, feta and their ilk.

I really do think we will avoid any unpleasantness at the front end and not need to include law enforcement officials. They don’t get involved in civil matters, and I should be able to de-escalate anything before needing their aide in escorting off my property.

I am set on playing this diplomatically, respectfully, and assertively. I have a legal claim to this equipment, and they need to show me a card that trumps my claim. They may be able to do that, and it would win the game. Should they sue me in open court, then I will tell it to the judge. Until then, I have the high card played, and I will politely defend my position. It may come time to ask them to leave and end our business relationship (I hope not), and I want it to be as forthright and non-violent as possible.

Rick has some insight there. The consumer is the target market, and we are just tools to gt products to that target market. Distribution hubs.