Consumer Affairs Victoria is advising people who plan on moving home over summer to choose carefully when looking for a removalist service to help them.
While most removalists provide a sound and reliable service, there are also dodgy operators whose service does not meet consumer guarantees under the Australian Consumer Law (ACL).
Consumer Affairs Victoria this week issued a public warning about a Melbourne-based removalist service, Ajanvi Pty Ltd trading as My Moovers.
"It's important that Victorians are informed and are cautious about entering into any agreements," the Director of Consumer Affairs Victoria, Nicole Rich, said.
"Victorians moving house have the right to expect the job to be done properly," Ms Rich said. "The Australian Consumer Law provides protections to help ensure that happens."
Consumer Affairs Victoria has had numerous complaints from consumers about the services they have received from My Moovers.
Consumer Affairs Victoria has received 122 reports about the company since 1 January 2018. They include allegations that My Moovers had acted in an unprofessional and aggressive manner, failed to exercise due care and skill, and purposely drove longer distances so they could charge customers more money.
Consumer Affairs Victoria received 656 reports about removalists in 2019; that figure increased to 726 in 2020.
Nick D'Arcy is one among the Victorians who have been on the receiving end of a bad experience with a removalist company.
Having packed up all his possessions, Nick was careful to ensure the booking was specifically timed, confirming the week before that the company would be there for the move, and that everything was set to go.
Then he got a phone call from the removalist to tell him they wouldn't be coming - on the morning of the move.
“The guy garbled some story about there being an issue with the trucks,” Nick recalled.
Four days before Christmas, it wasn't an easy matter to find an alternative removalist, but Nick managed to find someone else.
Under the ACL, businesses must provide certain guarantees about the products and services they sell, hire or lease, such as that products are of acceptable quality and match their description; and that services are provided with acceptable care and skill, are fit for the purpose agreed to and are delivered within a reasonable time.
If a business fails to deliver these guarantees, consumers have rights relating to repairs; replacement or refund; cancelling a service; and compensation for damage and loss.
“When you hire a removalist, you have the same rights under the law as you do with any other service provider,” Ms Rich said.
“Your possessions are precious. Make sure you take the time to choose a removalist who is going to take as much care of them as you do.”
When businesses fail to do the right thing, Consumer Affairs Victoria and other state and national regulators have a range of enforcement options with which to respond.
If you’re moving house, a few basic tips can help your relocation go smoothly:
- Ask friends and family for recommendations, or seek out reliable reviews of removalist services.
- Don’t just accept the lowest quote: as well as the quality of the provider, consider what services are included.
- Ask questions about how items that you’re particularly worried about, or that are especially important, will be transported.
- Keep valuable items, such as jewellery and passports, separate.
- Consider using a service accredited with an industry body, such as the Australian Furniture Removalists Association.
For more information on your consumer rights when hiring a service provider, view Products and services.
View the My Moovers public warning.