A business can ask a person to pay the ‘relevant charge’ before they collect or take delivery of their uncollected goods or vehicle.
If the owner or any other person with a proprietary or security interest in the goods or vehicle pays this charge, they are entitled to collect or take delivery of the goods or vehicle.
Unless a court says differently, the relevant charge is the total amount owed for:
- repairs, cleaning, treatment or other work the business did on the vehicle or goods, or for transporting or storing them. If there is no agreement, this amount must be reasonable
- storing, maintaining or insuring the vehicle or goods until they were disposed of, from the date the business:
- gave written notice of intention to dispose of them, or
- applied for a court order to dispose of them.
A business can deduct the relevant charge from any proceeds earned by selling the goods. If the proceeds of sale do not cover the relevant charge, the business can sue the person who left the goods for the difference.
A business must treat any money left over after selling the goods or vehicle, and paying the relevant charge, as ‘unclaimed money’ under the Unclaimed Money Act 2008.
Information on handling unclaimed money is available from the State Revenue Office website.
The business may not agree with the person who left the goods or vehicle about the amount of the ‘relevant charge’ or any outstanding payments.
Disagreement about what amount is owed may relate to the condition of the vehicle or goods, or the type or quality of any repairs or other work done to them.
If you disagree, either party can apply to a court or the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal to determine what the relevant charge should be.
If you are having a dispute with a business about a problem with a product, view our Resolve your problem or complaint section.
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