Beware the shifty removalist

Published Sunday, 03 January, 1999 at 12:00 AM

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Policy/Womens Policy/Fair Trading
The Honourable Judy Spence

The Minister for Fair Trading, Judy Spence, today urged Queenslanders planning to move house to check their contract and insurance details before handing over belongings to removalists and backloaders.

"This is traditionally a time of year when people move house to begin a new job, course of study or lifestyle, so it is important to remind people about precautions against sloppy operators," Ms Spence said.

"The Office of Fair Trading received more than 60 complaints about removalists and backloaders in 1998.

"Most of them were about smaller, sometimes cut-price, businesses. Many of their unhappy customers were battlers who shopped around and were duped into believing they were getting a bargain.

"Some of the complaints involve damage to goods which the clients assumed were fully insured until they tried to claim on them. That highlights the fact that many cut-price handlers only offer automatic insurance for damage caused through fire or a truck accident.

"If you are concerned about your possessions being damaged in transit, consider taking out all-risk insurance for their full value.

"One trick of unscrupulous traders is to place belongings in storage and refuse to release them unless the client pays extra money.

"We have recently seen the case of a single mother of four who thought she had a guarantee that her belongings would be delivered to her new residence at a certain time.

"Instead, her things were locked away in storage, and the company has demanded she pay an extra $400 to have them delivered.

"If you are on the move, it is best to have a written contract which clearly specifies the pick up and drop off dates, as well as all-risk insurance for the full value of your goods.

"If all you have is a verbal deal about your things being delivered to the right place and at the right time, you will have no legal recourse if something goes wrong."

Further information: Fiona Kennedy (07) 3227 8825/ (0414) 287 858