Uncollected goods explained
Belongings you left temporarily with a business may be considered ‘uncollected goods’ if you:
- did not return to claim them
- did not tell the business what to do with them
- cannot be contacted, or
- have not paid a charge you should have paid to the business for keeping or doing anything to the goods. For more information, view the Relevant charge page in our Fair trading section.
- A towing business picks up a damaged vehicle, but is not told by the owner what to do with it.
- A motor mechanic is asked to repair a car, but the owner never returns to pick it up and pay for any work done.
- Clothes left for dry-cleaning are never collected.
- A landlord of a shop is left with perishable food after the tenant leaves.
- Holidaymakers in a caravan park leave without taking their tent and camp stove with them.
- A guest does not return to collect belongings left in a hotel’s ‘lost and found’.
Goods are not ‘uncollected’ if the business:
- refuses to return or deliver them, or
- prevents you from collecting the goods.
Uncollected goods laws do not apply to:
A business must:
- notify you if they intend to dispose of your uncollected goods
- hold the goods for a certain time before disposing of them, depending on the nature of the goods (for example, there are different rules for perishable goods and motor vehicles).
For more information about this, view our Disposing of uncollected goods section.
Stop a business disposing of your goods
You can prevent disposal of your goods by:
- paying the relevant charge and collecting them
- making arrangements for their delivery
- applying to a court or the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal to resolve a dispute with the business holding them.
When a business sells uncollected goods
Any money left over after the business sells the uncollected goods or vehicle, and has paid the relevant charge and disposal costs, is ‘unclaimed money’.
They must handle it according to rules set by the Unclaimed Money Act 2008. For more information, visit the State Revenue Office website.
Buying uncollected goods – ‘good title’
If you buy goods sold under uncollected goods laws, you have ‘good title’ to them. This means you own the goods - provided that when you bought them, you were not aware of any:
- failure by the seller to comply with uncollected goods laws
- problem with the original owner’s title to the goods.
‘Good title’ also means that the previous owner can no longer claim the goods or ask you to pay any money to be entitled to keep them.