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Liability with removal service

I paid a man who provides a service to move small goods. He moved my fridge and some belongings. When he moved the fridge into its position a box snagged the copper pipe which carries the refrigerant gas which ruptured. I rang around and it could be anywhere up to $300 to fix.
Who is liable for this? It’s an unfortunate situation. I rang him and he only has insurance for transport and it does not cover entering the clients property. This seems stupid. Can anyone provide me with advice? The fridge is 13 years old and I don’t have the money to replace it. Cheers

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Usually, the person who caused the damage is responsible for the damage.

It is irrelevant what his insurance covers as this is something he has accepted as a business risk.

If he does have insurance, I would also be surprised if transport does not include location to location (that being the location of the fridge in the departure house to the final location in the delivery house) and not limited to goods on the back of the delivery vehicle. I would expect, if he had insurance, that it would cover a fridge accidentally dropped down stairs by the removalist, for example.

I would approach the removalist and indicate that he is responsible for the damage to the fridge, and is therefore responsible for making the damage good (namely, return the fridge to a pre-damaged condition/working order). When he responds again about his insurance not covering the damage, you also need to state that his insurance cover is irrelevant as he is responsible for the damage. Note, the insurance company is only the secondary party he can use to cover the costs of the damage and not having insurance for the damage does not alleciate his responsiblity to repair the damage. Also state that you are interested in the repair on the fridge and not who will ultimately pay for it.

It maybe also worthwhile asking for a copy of his insurance cover…this will have two benefits, confirming that he actually has insurance and fhe second, if the insurance covers such damage. If the policy covers such damage, it may be worth contacting his insurer directly and making a claim.

Also note that the outcome may be that the fridge can’t be/to expensive to be repaired and a cash settlement is required…the cash being for the current market value of the fridge.


Thank you. Makes sense.
I did speak with the removalist and he offered to pay for half of repair up to $200.
As he is responsible for damage I would prefer for him to pay for the whole repair.
If he doesn’t offer what are my options. Can we make a claim with small claim tribunal? Or lodge a complaint with consumer affairs. Just want to understand my position better and somehow not be out of pocket. I feel for him too but I remember I scratched someone’s car once and it cost me $450 to repair. Why should I pay for someone else’s error of judgement.


I’ve taken two removalists to fair trading with success both times. This was some years ago though.

In each case they argued that they had offered me insurance that covered ‘extras’ that I’d declined - opting just to cover for loss en-route. In one instance they damaged a driveway through negligence, in the other the manner goods were packed was totally inadequate resulting in damage to the contents of boxes. I argued in both cases that the standard of service fell short of what would be reasonably expected and that I shouldn’t have to take out insurance to cover the negligence of the service provider. Fair trading agreed.

My advice up front would be to make sure you have insurance to cover ‘accident’ or ‘loss’ - but make sure they understand you will not tolerate negligence and will not insure just so they can be shoddy. Carry a camera during uplift and delivery and take photos when they arrive of major items (dining suites, white-goods, etc) so they know you are serious, and make sure they know you have it, and don’t be bullied by the gorillas :slight_smile:


I dont have an exact answer, but this video may help everyone in the future