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A letter of demand is a letter to the other party who has your goods, asking them to return your goods to you or pay you money for them. It warns the other party that if this is not done you may start a case to recover the goods or the value of the goods if they have been disposed.
The time limit to apply to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) for goods left behind depends on the value of the goods and the type of order you want. For more information on time limits, see Going to NCAT. If your case does not fall under the Uncollected Goods Act 1995, you may be able to start a case in the Local Court. For more information, see Going to the Local Court.
It is important to clearly tell the other party that you want your goods back. They may have forgotten or not realised that they still have your goods, or there could be some other misunderstanding.
By sending a simple letter setting out your claim, you may convince them to return your goods or pay you the value of your goods and therefore avoid the need to start a case in court. This will save you time and money. If you end up having to start a case, the letter is evidence of you asking for your goods back.
If there is an Apprehended Violence Order (AVO) against you, protecting the other party or anyone they have a domestic relationship with, you should get legal advice before sending a letter of demand. Sending a letter of demand may be a breach of the AVO.
When writing your letter, make sure you include:
Your letter of demand should tell the other party:
Before asking for payment for the value of the goods, you should get legal advice. If you later find out the goods are worth more than you thought, you may not be able to claim the extra amount. For more information, see Giving notice before disposing of the goods.
Once you write the letter:
Sample: Letter of demand - goods
After the other party gets your letter of demand they might:
If you can't reach an agreement with the other party, you may need to decide whether to start a case. It is a good idea to try to resolve your dispute with the other party first.
For more information, see Resolving your dispute.