CAN I SELL A CUSTOMER’S GOODS IF THEY WON’T PAY FOR MY WORK?

It’s a sad truth that in tough economic conditions, people are sometimes unable to pay for work that they’ve engaged a business to carry out on their behalf. We see this time and time again, especially in the motor vehicle industry (e.g. mechanic’s workshops), computer repair businesses, spray painting businesses, watch repair, jewelers and many others.

So, what happens when a customer leaves an item with you for repair (e.g. a car) and refuses to pay for the work that was performed?

Where such situations arise, businesses may be entitled to sell the customer’s property and recover payment if they follow the requirements of the Disposal of Uncollected Goods Act 1967 (Qld) (the Act). By following the process set out in the Act, the business owner may recover payment and be protected from any legal claims by the owner.

So how does it work?

You must clearly display a sign at your business premises which states that you accept the goods for inspection, custody, storage, repair or other treatment in accordance with the terms of the Act. The sign must also make it very clear that any such goods may be sold 6 months after they became ready for collection. Here’s an example:


'How We Treat Uncollected Goods

We accept your goods for inspection, custody, storage, repair or other treatment in accordance with The Disposal of Uncollected Goods Act 1967 (Qld).

Pursuant to this Act, any uncollected goods may be sold six (6) months after the date on which they become ready for collection.'


In practice, it takes much longer than 6 months before you can sell a customer’s goods. Here’s why.

Using the car as an example, once it’s ready for collection, the business must provide the customer with notice that it is ready. The customer must also be informed that if he/she fails to collect the car within 6 months, the item may be sold. Once the six-month period has passed, the business must provide the customer with additional notice of its intention to sell the vehicle. Only then, and after giving the customer the required warning, will a business be entitled to apply to the court for an order allowing it to sell the car.

There are some further steps that need to be taken at this juncture, so if you find yourself at this point, it’s wise to seek prompt legal advice. Penalties apply if items are sold without following the correct procedure, and the business may also be exposed to a legal claim from the owner of the goods.

If you are a business owner in this predicament, or you are a customer whose goods are at risk of being sold, speak to the team at Axia Litigation Lawyers – because Every Move Matters.

Want to know more?

Contact Axia Litigation Lawyers direct and speak with an expert today.

You might also like

Dealing with a dispute & need expert advice?

Axia Litigation Lawyers are experts in dispute resolution and litigation.

Contact us today to understand how you can effectively and efficiently reach a resolution in your matter.

I have no hesitation in recommending them. They were always very informative and answered all of my questions and always kept me in the loop and well informed of my progress.

Greg P,

Adam and staff have been very helpful throughout the whole process. Very happy with the service and final outcome.

Dale G,

I found Jennifer and the team at Axia extremely thorough and knowledgeable with my recent copyright case. I only wish other legal firms acted with such integrity. We will definitely engage their services if required in the future.

Anthony S, Platinum Residential Designer Homes

Axia were competent, diligent and excellent to work with.

Sharon D,

We have used Axia Legal on two occasions over the last three years with great success and I am happy to recommend Adam Brown from Axia Legal

Cara R,

After my initial consultation with Axia Litigation Lawyers, I felt the tension and stress fall away. They were both compassionate and understanding of my case and were diligent and thorough in their work ethic.

Liz W,

Thank you for your outstanding help & I couldn't be happier with the help AXIA have given me.

Steven C,

Axia Lawyers are an excellent litigation firm that handle cases in a professional manner and pay attention to details. The customer service was outstanding, I would highly recommend this firm.

Jodi B,

After multiple attempts at trying to find reliable counsel in Australia to act on an advisory basis to our firm, we found ourselves feeling reassured and feel as though we have gained a solid ally with Axia Litigation.

Portland Maritime,

The team at Axia Litigation were first class, when guiding us through two consecutive legal matters. We received regular communication, with each of the legal steps explained in full.

Premier Box,