Disposing of perishable uncollected goods

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Perishable goods include:

  • food
  • other goods capable of spoiling or decaying.

Giving notice

If uncollected goods have perished, a business can dispose of them.

Within a reasonable time of disposal, the business must make reasonable attempts (either verbally or in writing) to tell the person who left the items that they have disposed of those goods.

If the goods have not perished, the business must:

  • tell the person (verbally or in writing) that they intend to dispose of the goods, and
  • give the person reasonable time to collect the goods. How long this is will depend on the type and condition of the goods - for example, how quickly they are likely to perish.

Disposing of the goods

A business can dispose of perishable goods by selling, destroying or keeping them.

The business does not have to wait for the goods to perish if a reasonable time has passed since giving notice of the intention to dispose of them.

The business must record certain details about the goods after disposal. For more information, view Records of disposal.

Any money left over after selling the goods, and paying the relevant charge and disposal costs, is ‘unclaimed money’. The seller must handle it according to rules set by the Unclaimed Money Act 2008. For more information, visit the State Revenue Office website.

If the sale does not cover the relevant charge and disposal costs, the seller may pursue the owner or person who left the goods or vehicle for the debt in court.

For more information about the relevant charge, view Relevant charge.


If you are having a dispute with a business about a problem with a product, view Resolve your problem or complaint.