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Moves to prevent workshops from becoming ‘dumping grounds’

Uncollected goods laws

A change in laws could offer the best opportunity to stop repair businesses from becoming dumping grounds for old cars according to one motoring advocacy body.

The Motor Trades Association SA/NT (MTA SA/NT) is working with the South Australian state government on a review of the Unclaimed Goods Act make it easier for businesses to sell or dispose of goods not collected by owners and left in their possession.

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The review wants to overcome scenarios where a repair businesses or mechanics are left with vehicles the owner abandons after deciding it is not worth the cost of repairs.

The Unclaimed Goods Act 1987 currently permits a person to sell or dispose of unclaimed goods after waiting three months but they must then follow a set process of sale or disposal depending on the value of the goods, which may require public auctions and advertisements.

MTA SA/NT CEO Darrell Jacobs said the changes aim to reduce costs for auto business and make the process of disposal easier.

“Even after years of unanswered calls, letters and emails to a previous owner, businesses are left with red tape nightmares and disposal costs well in excess of the vehicle’s value,” Jacobs says.

“Automotive service and repair businesses are being used as a dumping ground for unwanted cars.

South Australian attorney-general Kyam Maher said the MTA and the automobile repair industry had highlighted how outdated the legislation was.

“No one wants to be stuck holding onto or storing things for extended periods that they don’t want and that don’t belong to them,” Maher says.

“If goods aren’t claimed, there should be a clear, simple, and fair process for people to follow so they no longer have responsibility for them.

“We’re looking at reducing the amount of time people need to hold onto unclaimed goods as well as simplifying the steps involved in disposing of or selling unclaimed goods.”

People are invited to have their say about the proposed changes to the South Australian legislation.

Information on uncollected goods for other states can be found below:

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