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My customer won’t collect their stuff, can I get rid of it?

There is nothing more frustrating than when your customer won’t collect their goods.  This is a common issue facing businesses in the repair industry.  The goods can’t be fixed – so the customer doesn’t turn up to collect them.  What can you do?  You can most likely dispose of the goods, as long as you follow the law.

*This blog contains information particular to Victoria .

Uncollected Goods

In Victoria, a business can dispose of goods being held by the business whether the customer has not paid your fees within a reasonable time, after being told the goods are ready for collection.  As long as you dispose of the goods in accordance with the law, then you will not be liable in relation to the disposal.

When you can destroy goods

The requirements are slightly different depending upon the value of the goods.  Generally, you can destroy goods if:

  • they are valued under $200
  • you give notice to the customer in writing
  • the prescribed period of time has lapsed without the customer paying you and collecting the goods.

Where you cannot locate a customer, you must make reasonable attempts to do so before you can destroy the goods.

When you can dispose of goods (not destroy them)

You can generally dispose of goods by way of sale at public auction or private sale where:

  • the goods are valued at between $200 and $5000
  • you give the customer notice in writing
  • the prescribed period of time has lapsed with the customer paying you and collecting the goods
  • you use reasonable care to ensure that the goods are sold for the best price that could be reasonably obtained.

Where you cannot locate a customer, you must make reasonable attempts to do so before you can destroy the goods.

When you cannot destroy or dispose of goods

You can’t dispose of Uncollected Goods if:

  • there is a dispute exists between you and the customer about your fees or service or
  • the customer has made an application to the court or
  • if the customer pays the fees owed to you before you dispose of the Uncollected Goods.

Process

The legislation sets out the requirements that must be followed when disposing of the goods.  These requirements include the content of the written notice that you have to give the customer, and record keeping obligations.

If you do not follow all of the requirements, then you may be liable for the disposal of the goods, so call me for a complimentary consultation before you take action to dispose of a customer’s goods.