If a customer goes bankrupt, acting fast can be the key to recovering any materials you shipped thecompany directly before the announcement.

You have the right to reclaim items from a bankrupt company most of the time. But you have to give the company or bankruptcy court notice within10 days of when you delivered the goods. The one restriction: you may lose your right to get back your product if it's being used as collateral for anobligation of your once-valued customer.

If your company is in a different city from the bankrupt company, it pays to find someone who will hand-deliver your letter. "Make sure that the letteridentifies the items and gives formal notice that you're reclaiming them," says Boston bankruptcy attorney Daniel C. Cohn.