Are you moving house? Then Consumer Protection recommends choosing your removalist wisely as about 40 complaints have been received so far this year against a few rogue operators in Perth.
Issues raised in the complaints relate to damage to goods, late arrivals, untrained contractors, false claims that they have insurance when they don’t, poorly equipped vehicles and coercion for payment prior to the completion of the job.
Commissioner for Consumer Protection Lanie Chopping said these issues are not common in the removalist industry in WA, but they do relate to some operators, so consumers are urged to take steps to ensure that their moving experience is a positive one.
“Moving house is normally a very stressful time for people, so you don’t want any extra stress from damaged items, the truck turning up late, people who don’t know what they’re doing or have any arguments over the final cost,” Ms Chopping said.
“It’s best to make sure all the details are worked out and agreed to prior to the move so there are no surprises during or afterwards. Consumers should get a proposal on company letterhead that contains a copy of the terms and conditions and clearly sets out an hourly rate or a fixed price for the job.
“Don’t pay upfront, so you maintain some bargaining power if there are any problems. Also, refuse if they ask for the final payment half way through. Only make full payment at the end of the job.
“As with anyone that you hire, removalists have to exercise due care and skill by doing all they can to prevent damage or loss and the consumer has the right to claim compensation if they fail to do this.
“For this reason, a removalist’s contract should not say that they don’t take any responsibility for damage or loss so let us know if a contract contains this clause and we will take action.”
Some consumer tips to ensure a smooth move:
- Get three written quotes from reputable providers to compare prices and the level of service provided, such as packing/unpacking, number of staff, size of truck etc.;
- Consider giving preference to removalists who are members of the Australian Furniture Removals Association or get recommendations from family and friends;
- Get help in estimating the volume of goods to ensure the correct van capacity and equipment are being ordered – there are some online tools that can assist with your move;
- Set a specific start time and establish if there are storage fees for any delays;
- If insurance is included, establish exactly what damage is covered and under what circumstances and ask for a copy of the Certificate of Currency; and
- Compile a detailed inventory with photos or video evidence to guard against loss or damage.
Consumers who are having issues with a removalist which cannot be resolved can lodge an online complaint on the Consumer Protection website