MOVING to a new house is one of life’s more stressful tasks, made more painful if your valued furniture and possessions are damaged, delayed or lost.
In 2017-18, Consumer Affairs Victoria received more than 700 reports about removal and freight services, up from around 580 in 2015-16. Reports related to issues with items lost during transit, delays with collecting or delivering items, and items damaged during transit or in storage.
If things go wrong during a move, consumers have protections under the Australian Consumer Law with furniture removalists required to meet certain obligations, referred to as consumer guarantees. Services must be provided with due care and skill, and be provided within a reasonable time.
Consumers can do their part to avoid issues when hiring furniture removalists by following these tips:
• Do research – get online and search the company’s name. Find out what others are saying about them.
• Accreditation – consider choosing a removalist company that is accredited with an industry body such as the Australian Furniture Removers Association
• Location, location – find out ahead of the move if the company has a physical office and its own storage facility and where these are. This will make it easier to locate goods during any storage period.
• Happy snapping – take photos of items packed, particularly fragile and valuable ones.
• Be informed – read any contracts very carefully and do not feel pressured to sign and ask about terms and conditions, including any possible extra costs, such as if the move takes longer than expected. Get clear information about whether the cost is flat or charged hourly.
• Peace of mind – consider taking out transit insurance from an authorised removalist or third-party company.
For more information go to consumer.vic.gov.au.