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If someone has left their goods with you, it’s important to keep them safe while it is in your possession.
If you want to dispose of the goods, you will need to provide a certain amount of notice to the owner, depending on the value of the goods.
For more information, see Giving notice before disposing the goods.
If someone is chasing you for goods or the money value of those goods, they might phone you, email you, send you an sms or a letter of demand.
If you received a letter of demand, you should respond to it.
For more information, see Responding to a letter of demand - goods.
There are different ways you can respond to their claim, including:
It is a good idea to always be polite and courteous when communicating to the other party.
You should not ignore a claim that is made against you. If you don't respond, the other party may decide to apply to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) for an order. This will cost time, money, and can increase the amount of their claim.
If you agree to return the goods to the other party, you should make arrangements with the other party.
If you no longer have the goods, you could offer to pay the other party the money value of those goods instead.
If the other party does not agree to accept the money or the amount you offer, they may decide to apply to NCAT for an order.
If you deny that the goods belong to the other party, you should tell them.
If there is a dispute over the ownership of the goods, either you or the other party can apply to NCAT for an order.
If you need more information to identify exactly what goods the other party is claiming and why, you can write back to them to ask for more information. You can also ask for more information about how they worked out the value of the goods. This is known as a 'request for further and better particulars'.
In your letter you should be careful not to admit or deny their claim. You should ask the other party for information and documents that will help you decide whether to return the goods or pay the money, such as:
a full description or photo of the goods
details of how the goods came into your possession
emails or letters about the goods
quotes or invoices showing the value of the goods.
Sample: Request for more information - goods.
You can contact the other party at any time to reach an agreement about the claim. You can offer to pay an amount of money instead of returning the goods, to pay a lesser sum, or to pay in instalments until the amount is paid.
Negotiating with the other party doesn't need to be formal. You can negotiate with the other party in person or on the phone, or by writing a letter, email or sms.
If you negotiate verbally, keep notes of any conversations you have with the other party, including dates and times. These may be helpful if you end up going to NCAT.
If you come to an agreement, it is a good idea to put your agreement in writing.
If you can't reach an agreement with the other party, the other party may decide to start a case in NCAT against you.
It is a good idea to try to resolve your dispute with the other party, before going to the Tribunal.
For more information, see Resolving your dispute.