Goods dis­posal made eas­ier

Pilbara News - - Lifestyle - Gwyn­neth Hay­wood Gwyn­neth Hay­wood is the se­nior re­gional of­fi­cer for Con­sumer Pro­tec­tion

What hap­pens when a cus­tomer fails to re­turn to col­lect their goods from a busi­ness?

West Aus­tralian busi­nesses left hold­ing un­col­lected items have to take cer­tain steps be­fore they can dis­pose of the goods.

This pro­ce­dure, which can in­volve an ap­pli­ca­tion to the courts de­pend­ing on the value of the goods, may seem in­con­ve­nient, but it’s the law and serves to pro­tect peo­ple’s prop­erty.

Hav­ing to fol­low the dis­posal of goods process is known to be an is­sue for WA’s mo­tor ve­hi­cle re­pair­ers, who are of­ten left with un­claimed low-value cars only fit for wreck­ing or parts. Other ex­am­ples in­clude:

A tow­ing busi­ness picks up a dam­aged car but isn’t told by the owner what to do with it.

Clothes are left for dry-clean­ing but never col­lected.

Hol­i­day­mak­ers who va­cate a car­a­van park with­out tak­ing their tent and camp stove.

Un­til re­cently, un­der WA’s Dis­posal of Un­col­lected Goods Act, the re­quire­ment to get per­mis­sion from the court ap­plied to any item worth more than $300.

How­ever, in the big­gest change to this law since its in­cep­tion in 1970, this value thresh­old has in­creased to $3500.

The amend­ment, which be­gan on Mon­day, June 12, will save busi­nesses time, money and has­sle.

From now on, if a ve­hi­cle or any item worth less than $3500 is not claimed or col­lected and the busi­ness can­not con­tact the cus­tomer, there is no need for the busi­ness to sub­mit a court ap­pli­ca­tion for per­mis­sion to get rid of it. Im­por­tantly, busi­nesses do still have to try their best to no­tify the owner. Busi­nesses want­ing to dis­pose of goods val­ued at more than $3500 will need to make an ap­pli­ca­tion to the court.

Guid­ance on the pro­ce­dures busi­nesses must ad­here to when dis­pos­ing of un­col­lected goods can be found on Con­sumer Pro­tec­tion’s web­site com­merce. wa.gov.au/cp — there’s a spe­cific fact sheet for ve­hi­cle re­pair­ers — or through the con­tact cen­tre on 1300 30 40 54.

To sum­marise, for dis­posal of un­col­lected goods, a court ap­pli­ca­tion is only re­quired for items val­ued at more than $3500.

Be­fore June 12 the thresh­old value was $300. The re­quire­ments do not ap­ply when:

A ten­ant leaves items be­hind at a rental prop­erty at the end of a tenancy.

Un­so­licited goods are sent to a con­sumer.

Goods are left with a pawn­bro­ker.

Go­ing for­ward, Con­sumer Pro­tec­tion is un­der­tak­ing a re­view of the Dis­posal of Un­col­lected Goods Act 1970 to mod­ernise the rules and im­prove pro­cesses.

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