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VIC Removalists Damaged Furniture - Australian Consumer Law Rights?

Discussion in 'Australian Consumer Law Forum' started by KERRI MINOTTI, 17 July 2015.

  1. KERRI MINOTTI

    KERRI MINOTTI Member

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    Hi, I used a removalists company (recommended by the storage company) to move my belongings into storage 22/4/15. My leather lounge, tv unit & hall table were damaged due to the incompetency of their employees. I took photos & filled in the claim forms as instructed by company & have kept in contact via email trying to have the matter resolved.

    The company is unwilling to assess the damage till my belongings are moved out of storage due to labour costs & as I explained to the company due to unforeseen circumstances I do not know exactly when that will be. They have stated that they have the right to choose the course of action that is most viable for them so if the cost of repair is more/equivalent to the depreciation value of my goods they will pay me the depreciation value and take my goods. All I want is my furniture restored to it's pre-move condition as I have looked after it very well. The pittance the removalists would pay in depreciation value would not even purchase me a similar couch.

    What can I do under Australian consumer law?
     
  2. Sophea

    Sophea Well-Known Member

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    Hi Kerri,

    The type of insurance policies most removalists carry doesn't insure your property. It insures the removalist against liability for negligence. Therefore it only pays out if they are deemed legally liable to compensate you for damage which resulted from their negligence. Usually claims paid are limited to their depreciated value, allowing for wear and tear etc.

    Removalists do owe certain duties under Australian Consumer Law, however these don't really impact how they conduct their insurance claims.I suggest you either simply wait until you move the goods again for them to assess as they said they will, otherwise negotiate something else with them. If you have trouble or need dispute resolution services, you can contact VIC Consumer Affairs and they may be able to help you out.

    The reality is that, yes the insurance is likely only worth the difference between what your furniture was worth before and what it is worth now, which is a pittance I know and extremely frustrating, however unfortunately you don't really have any other recourse against them.
     
  3. Ivy

    Ivy Well-Known Member

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    Hi Kerri,

    Like @Sophea said, the removalists do owe you certain duties under the Australian Consumer Law. If they have acted negligently and damaged your furniture as a result, you may be able to recover some or all of the cost of the service. Trying to assess damage and the depreciation in value from the damage to the furniture is also technically doable and actionable through VCAT however unless your furniture is worth quite a lot and the depreciation has been significant, it may not be worth your time trying to pursue it.

    If I were you, I would call Consumer Affairs Victoria and talk to them about what your rights are in this situation and then try to recover the cost of removal from the removalists at the very least.
     
    Sophea likes this.

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