NSW Should We Give Full Refund Under Australian Consumer Law?

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4 November 2016
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We recently sold our timber on gumtree. We attached 8 photos on gumtree including the different angles of the timber. The buyer asked plenty of questions about the timber, including why we sold, where we bought it from original and ended up being paid via PayPal. Then he told us, he is based in another state, said he will organize the courier for pick up.

After 2 weeks waiting time, he got the courier to come and pick it up from our gargage. When the courier turned up, he took the photos for the timber. He asked is we could help him carry it, and we told him clearly we couldn't. It's over 47square meter of timber: it was too heavy.

The courier said he has to come back with a smaller tuck which he could drive in our driveway and also, because he was alone, he couldn't carry that much by hand. But after the courier checked with his boss, he has to do as it. He use our trolley to pick up the timber and put it on his 10tons truck. As its heavy and the truck doesn't have any lift on back of the car, the courier threw everything into truck without any protection.

The buyer received the goods yesterday and ask for fully refund plus the courier fee. Is that right under Australian Consumer Law. Now he didn't explain why, only the stated that it was not as advertised.

We are not sure if any damage during the transport, the timber wasn't protected by any packing as we dont know what kind of courier the buyer using. We never knew who we were dealing with till the courier turned up in front of our house. Whatever we listed on gumtree was pickup by the courier the buyer organized.

Buyer said if we don't give a refund plus the courier fee he paid, he will take to paypal and small local court. We don't feel we did anything wrong. The goods were picked up. We didn't organize the courier, also photo provided via gumtree. If damage during transit, its under courier repsonbility we didn't organize with them as well.

Once the courier showed up and was willing to do the pickup even only one person, then should the buyer accept the term?

Should we give a refund?

Thanks
 

Victoria S

Well-Known Member
9 April 2014
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Hi Christine,

Yes that's correct. When purchasing through gumtree or any other private sale, consumer law guarantees of acceptable quality, fitness for purpose etc do not apply. Therefore it is "buyer beware". The buyer must satisfy themselves of the adequacy and quality of the product before purchasing it. And in this case it sounds as though the damage occurred during transit. Given that the buyer arranged for this transit it concerns a contract between the buyer and the courier if he wants to recover compensation for the damage.

Firmly refuse to refund anything to the buyer. You have photographs to prove the condition the timber was in at the time of purchase, so you may be able to prove the damage occurred during transport for which you are not liable.
 
4 November 2016
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Thanks Victoria.

The buyer insisted the timber was not same as advertisinged, but didn't explain why. He said the photo was taken with pallets, as the timber was pack and stored on the top of the pallet in the garage. We did tell him the pallet is the base only.

When the courier did the pick up, he manually put the timber into trolley, then threw it into the trunk. Every little pack was about 2m long and 16cm width, weight at less 20kg. So the courier moved all of the pallets one by one into the truck, over 300kg. Also, when it was dropped off at the buyer's side he might have the same issue.

The courier was organized by the owner himself. We don't know what kind of courier they would use at all. The photos we showed on gumtree was unwrapped or packed timber floor. It was what the courier picked up. If it's easily damaged goods, shouldn't the buyer to book a better courier who can handle sensitive freight?

He has now asked for a refund, including the courier cost. He hired the local pick-up and also requested us to go to his home to pick up the stock.

Where does he stand? Also what can we do next? We kept all the photos we posted on gumtree and also the photo of when courier came, what kind of truck he had and also the photos of the timber that was picked up.

Also, it's very unfair of the buyer not to explain how it was not the same as advertised, If they are willing to get a refund, it should be the amount they paid, but their first condition was to return the stock back to my house in the original condition how it was picked up by the courier from my garage.

Why do we need to pay for his courier cost and drive 4 hours to pick those timber up under our cost? Where do we stand if they go to paypal or small court?

Please help.

Thanks
 

Matthew Karakoulakis

Well-Known Member
27 October 2016
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Hi Christine,

I have reviewed your instructions and can see that you are in a difficult situation, as it appears that you have done everything correct in the circumstances and the courier may have impacted your timber during transportation.

From your instructions, it appears that with the photos, your timber and conduct meets the consumer law standards. You would benefit from seeking legal formal advice regarding your legal position and the courier’s liability to the purchaser.

A strong legal letter to the purchaser advising of your factual and legal rights will assist in avoiding any further action. I can provide you with the legal advice that you need in this situation.

Please feel free to book in with me for an appointment - Matthew Karakoulakis, Melbourne Lawyer: Book Online | LawTap

I look forward to hearing from you soon!

Yours faithfully,