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There are procedures to follow if your customer gives you a ‘notice of dispute’ within one month of you serving them with a Form 1, Form 2 or Form 4 as set out in the Disposal of Uncollected Goods Regulations 1971. There is no prescribed notice of dispute in the Regulations but it needs to set out in adequate detail what the owner of the goods is disputing.
An owner of the goods may refuse to either:
The owner may believe the charges are excessive or be unsatisfied that the inspection, custody, storage, repair or other treatment of the goods has been properly carried out.
If you receive a notice of dispute, you may not sell or otherwise dispose of the goods until the dispute has been determined. You should contact the owner and attempt to resolve the dispute. If successful, you are likely to have resolved the whole problem but you may still wish to continue to dispose of the goods.
Deliver to the owner a Form 3 ‘Notice under Part V to treat a dispute as determined’. If one month after the owner has received the Form 3, the owner has not given you a notice in writing that he or she objects to the dispute being treated as determined, the dispute is deemed to be determined and you can continue the process.
If either you cannot successfully resolve the dispute or within one month of receiving your notice of dispute, the owner gives you a notice in writing that he or she objects to the dispute being treated as determined, you can apply to the Court to determine the dispute by completing, filing and serving the owner with a copy of a Form 7 ‘Application under Part V for summary determination of a dispute’.
Once you have served a copy of the Form 7, you must complete the Affidavit fo Service (Form 11) and submit it to a Magistrate's Court.
At the hearing ensure any witnesses that you wish to call attend the hearing with you, take copies of all the paperwork you have completed in complying with the Act and have details of all the costs and expenses you have incurred complying with the provisions of the Act – the court will decide what is a reasonable cost to pass on to the person who left the goods with you.
The court has the power to order the disposal of the goods and to award costs such as storage fees, advertising fees and any other fees you have paid to comply with the provisions of the Act.
See the once a Court Order has been obtained page for further information on proceeding from here.