Unlicensed Australian Removalists Taking Flak For Practices

Licensed Sydney furniture removalists adhere themselves to high operational standards, as expected for any business with proper certification, especially one that deals with an issue nearly every Aussie is intimately familiar with; moving house.

An unregulated, and unlicensed group of Australia and Sydney furniture removalists from across the industry are now taking flak to their anti-consumer practices, with thousands of customers complaining that they’ve spent way more money than they have to, paying up for extra rent, storage fees and other extraneous costs because the unlicensed removalists didn’t appear on the agreed date, if they appeared at all. Some have even made complaints regarding damaged goods.

There have been reports from exasperated customers across the country, like Sydney and Adelaide. With many calling foul on the backloading companies that they pay to handle their home moving never showing up and treating them so terribly.

The official regulatory body for Australia and Sydney furniture removalists, the Australian Furniture Removers Association (AFRA), helps regulate the removalist industry and hands out credentials for companies, but companies or individuals that don’t meet the AFRA’s criteria, whether in terms of equipment, personnel or training, can still legally operate in the country.

Joe Lopino, the AFRA’s executive Director says that anyone can get a van, and operate as a “backyard business” handling home removals; they don’t need licnesing, training or any sort of formal qualification. He says that it’s a problem for the industry.

AFRA says that they receive 20 complaints weekly, mostly about “non-member” removalists. When they receive such complaints, they simply refer to the fair trading or consumer affairs department in the proper state or territory. For complaints regarding AFRA members, the AFRA offers internal mediation and tribunals with no costs for customers. The most common complaints the AFRA receives were about companies not appearing for customers, holding goods, asking for extra fees, damages, and wildly disparate quotes.

The NSW Fair Trading said, via spokesperson, that they’ve received about 1,644 complaints about removalists since the first of January, 2015, regarding the same complaints as the ones AFRA commonly receives. Queensland’s Office of Fair Trading says that 192 complaints regarding removalists made from 2016-2017

The QOFT spokesperson said that all Australian businesses, removalists included, must comply with the terms under the Australian Consumer Law. Part of these terms, he reminds customers, include a right to a refund.