Removalist goes down for failing to deliver
8 June 2018
Murrumba Downs removalist Jason Alan Walker was ordered to pay more than $9000 in fines and compensation by the Pine Rivers Magistrates Court today (8 June 2018) after charges were brought by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT).
Mr Walker, who traded using the name ‘Across Country Removals’, pleaded guilty to one count of wrongly accepting payment for a service and failing to supply it under the Australian Consumer Law (ACL).
Mr Walker, who did appear in court, was fined $4,000 and ordered to pay $5362.50 in restitution and court costs of $96.15. No conviction was recorded.
The court heard that in October 2016, Mr Walker provided a verbal quote of $6500 to a consumer to move personal belongings from Moree (New South Wales) to Darwin (Northern Territory) later that month.
A week before the intended move, Mr Walker quoted $7150 to the consumer in writing, and the consumer paid a 25 per cent deposit of $1787.50.
Following a last-minute reschedule on the allotted day and a no-show the following day, Mr Walker removed the goods from the consumer’s home on 29 October 2016.
The consumer transferred a further 50 per cent deposit ($3575) to Mr Walker to transport the remainder of his items to Darwin, which Mr Walker confirmed would arrive in Darwin on 7 November 2016.
From 7 November to 13 November 2016, the consumer unsuccessfully attempted to contact Mr Walker after his goods failed to arrive in Darwin.
On 14 November 2016 Mr Walker emailed the consumer to advise Across Country Removals had gone into liquidation and the consumer’s goods were in storage in Sarina (Queensland), approximately 2867km from Darwin.
The consumer engaged a third party removalist to transport the goods from Sarina to Darwin at a cost of $4500.
Despite several requests by the consumer, Mr Walker did not refund any money to the consumer.
OFT investigators established that Across Country Removals was not a registered company and was never placed in liquidation, and Mr Walker had not been the subject of personal bankruptcy.
In sentencing, the court considered the inconvenience to the consumer, the significant amount of time they were left out of pocket, and that Mr Walker had failed to cooperate with the OFT.
Fair Trading Executive Director Brian Bauer said the case was a reminder to traders that they have a responsibility to deliver goods and services they commit to.
“Traders who accept payment for goods or services then fail to deliver them can expect the Office of Fair Trading to bring the full force of the law down on them,” Mr Bauer said.
If consumers have paid for goods or services they have not received, they can lodge a complaint with the OFT either online at www.qld.gov.au/fairtrading or by calling 13 QGOV (13 74 68).