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An order from the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) can help you get your goods back, but going to NCAT will cost you time and money.
Before you start a case, here are some things to think about when you are deciding if it is worth it.
To make a claim at NCAT you will need the details of the other party and the Tribunal must have an address so that it can send letters and documents to them. You usually can’t start a case unless you can find out the correct address for the other party. If you don't have their correct address you may have trouble running a case against them.
For more information, see Identify the other party.
The time limit to start a claim at NCAT depends on the type of order and the value of the goods. For details on the time limits, see Going to NCAT.
If someone won't return your goods and the time limit to start a case has passed, you will need to ask the Tribunal for permission to start a case out of time. Before you start a case, you should get legal advice.
To start a case at NCAT, your claim must have some connection with NSW. For example:
the goods are in NSW
the agreement in relation to the goods was made in NSW
you or the other party live or have a business in NSW.
If one of the parties is a permanent resident of another State in Australia, NCAT will not be able to hear the case because there is a ‘federal jurisdiction’ problem. This does not apply to corporations or residents in a Territory.
For more information, see Federal jurisdiction on the NCAT website.
If you are not sure whether you can file your claim in NSW, you should get legal advice.
To get an order from NCAT, you need to have evidence to support your claim. Evidence to support a claim could include:
Before going to NCAT, you should consider the strength of your claim and get legal advice.
You do not need a lawyer at NCAT. The Tribunal was set up to help people run their case without a lawyer. You will usually have to pay for a lawyer if you use one, and even if you win you will probably not get all your legal costs back.
Going to NCAT can take up a lot of your time. If the other party disputes your claim and you are unable to settle your claim at conciliation, your matter will be listed for hearing. You may also have to spend time doing research, gathering evidence, and writing statements.
You will have to pay a filing fee.
You may also need to pay costs of enforcing judgment, if you win.
Even if you win, there is no guarantee that you will get all your money or your costs back.
Getting your goods back depends on whether the other party still has them. It is possible to get an order for compensation for goods damaged or destroyed. Getting your money from the other party will depend on whether they have any savings, income or property that can be used to pay the debt.
Even if you win your case, unless the other party actually has money or assets that can be used to pay the debt, you may never get your money back.
Step by step guide: Making an application for uncollected goods at NCAT.