Unlawful detention of goods

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Raymal

Active Member
17 October 2019
10
0
31
Hi, I have a situation whereby I terminated a building contract with a commercial builder due to major breaches which is another legal matter all together. But the situation at hand is after finally gaining access to the premises (because the builder changed the lock on premises) we found items purchased by us separately to the building contract taken. Furthermore items we gave to the builder to install have been retained by the builder who refuses to give them back. The builder has stated in a police report he has taken the items out of retribution and made a dummy invoice after the fact to show the police I “owe” him money. The police say it’s a civil matter and will need to go through VCAT. Can the builder get away with this? The builder has also listed my goods for sale on gumtree and marketplace.
 

Paul Cott

Well-Known Member
LawTap Verified
26 May 2014
283
94
789
Ballarat, Victoria
Hi Raymail,
No, going by what you say, the builder is wrong in taking the goods unless there is some written entitlement to do so in the contract which is fairly unlikely. The fact the builder has admitted he has taken the goods out of retribution shows he is aware there is no other entitlement to keep the goods. VCAT are extremely slow in actioning matters at the moment due to COVID so I would get a letter of demand sent ASAP demanding the items are returned in 7 days, or you will apply to court to get an injunction to get the goods back (even if you don't end up applying for an injunction, a fairly costly exercise, as long as when you write that, it is truthful as in you may do that it should be ok). At this stage those are your options.
 

Raymal

Active Member
17 October 2019
10
0
31
Hi, I have a situation whereby I terminated a building contract with a commercial builder due to major breaches which is another legal matter all together. But the situation at hand is after finally gaining access to the premises (because the builder changed the lock on premises) we found items purchased by us separately to the building contract taken. Furthermore items we gave to the builder to install have been retained by the builder who refuses to give them back. The builder has stated in a police report he has taken the items out of retribution and made a dummy invoice after the fact to show the police I “owe” him money. The police say it’s a civil matter and will need to go through VCAT. Can the builder get away with this? The builder has also listed my goods for sale on gumtree and marketplace.
Thanks Paul. I already sent him a demand letter to return the goods but he responded back with demand for money in return for the goods. Mind you he has already listed my goods for sale online. I applied to vcat a few months ago and only now got a date for a directions hearing as the builder was terminated due to breach of contract. I just want to go in prepared. I believe this builder has done this a few times and expecting a few surprises up his sleeve.