QLD Non-refunded Deposit when Removalist Company Aborted Our Job

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1 July 2014
I hired a removalist company in Queensland and paid a $500 deposit. They failed to do the job and have not refunded our deposit. It's a bit complicated because they delegated our job to another company without our permission and without telling us they had done that. The company they delegated the job to stood us up on the day. They simply didn't turn up to do the removal job.

We hired Company A. We paid them a deposit. They issued us with a receipt. Company A claims we have to get the deposit back from Company B because they delegated the job to them and forwarded the deposit to them. We were under the impression Company B was a contractor for Company A, not a separate entity. We did not enter into any agreement with Company B. We have not been issued a receipt from Company B. Company B was the company that stood us up on the day.

We had to find other removalists on the spot, as this was an interstate move and we had to hand our rental property in that day. We ended up having to pay the replacement removalist an additional $2000 on top of the full price the first removalist was charging us, plus we've lost the $500 deposit.

We live in the ACT. I want to sue them for losses (non-refunded deposit and extra costs incurred by them failing to uphold the agreement). Do I complete a Civil Dispute Application with the ACT Civil and Administration Tribunal or the ACT Office of Regulatory Services under Australian Consumer Law? I need to represent myself because I can't afford legal representation.

John R

Well-Known Member
14 April 2014
Hi EarthAngel,
Removalists are becoming an increasingly popular (or is that, frustrating) source of Australian Consumer Law questions on this forum:
You can immediately go to ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal (ACAT). That said, it is generally recommended to:
  1. Write to the removalist and set out the factual summary of the events to date (similar to what you have written above but with clear headings, checked for spelling, etc.) and a request for the business to refund the $500 deposit and/or compensation request, under Australian Consumer Law, the removalist has not supplied the agreed services.
  2. If you do not receive a satisfactory resolution to your complaint from the business within a reasonable timeframe, you can submit your complaint to the ACT Office of Regulatory Services (ORS) for investigation.
  3. If the ACT ORS fails to resolve the dispute to your satisfaction, then ACAT is generally the next step.
Page 10 of the Australian Consumer Law's Industry Guide to Personal Services sets out a case study that appears to be similar to your situation.
Before submitting your complaint to ACT ORS, you may also consider reviewing their "Before you complain" checklist.

Hope this helps. Please keep us updated with your progress.


1 July 2014
Thanks so much for your reply John.

I have corresponded with them via email and spoken to them on the telephone. They have stated that because they delegated the job to another company, and forwarded our deposit to that company, that we need to receive the refund from that company. The thing is that we didn't authorise the delegation of our job, the company we hired didn't tell us the job was given to the other company and the other company hasn't issued us with a receipt.

I'll investigate the options you have linked me to above.

Thank you again for taking the time to assist me. I'll update you as we make progress.