When you are in business you’ll soon find out that there are laws about everything, which is good because it saves you having to work out what to do in certain circumstances and if you are not sure about the law for that circumstance, commercial lawyers will soon be able to tell you. Legal help will ensure your business runs like a well-oiled machine and has the best chance of success.
One question you may have is what to do about uncollected goods that are taking up storage room. Now before you call in the removalists there are a few things you should know. For instance, a business that does car repairs may be left with a car that has been repaired, but the owner has not come to collect it and you can’t contact them. That car is taking up valuable space in the workshop, so what can you do? Or if your business is a dry cleaners, what can you do with clothing that has never been picked up? What if you own a caravan park and campers have gone off and left their tent or other accessories behind?
This can be a big nuisance since you can’t dump the stuff; it belongs to someone else and what if they eventually did come for it? You can’t sell it off because again, it doesn’t belong to you, so that would be illegal. So how can you dispose of these goods legally? This might be something of a quandary, but luckily there are laws about such matters.
The Disposal of Uncollected Goods Act 1970 sets out the regulations that have to be followed. First, make sure those goods fall into the correct class. Uncollected goods are those that have been temporarily left with a business, but –
- They have not been collected
- The owner cannot be contacted
- The owner has not told the business what to do with them
Note: they are not goods left behind in a rental property, goods left with a pawnbroker or unsolicited goods send to the business, nor are they goods suspected of being stolen.
The business must try to contact the owner and notify them that their goods will be sold or otherwise disposed of if they are not picked up within a time period specified by the Act. If the goods are valued at over $300, a notice must also be sent to the Commissioner of Police and anyone else who has an interest in the goods. This must be done using special forms specified by the Act and dates and names should be recorded and kept to ensure you have proof of compliance.
If after another specified time you’ve received no reply, you have to apply to the Magistrates Court for permission to sell the goods. If the owner contacts you after the sale, they must be reimbursed, but you can deduct all your costs, including storage, first.