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Source: Consumer NZ

Contract and Commercial Law Act 2017

If you hire a company to move furniture, send a parcel by courier or check in your luggage with an airline, you’re covered by the Contract and Commercial Law Act 2017. The Act gives you certain rights to compensation for loss or damage, though any contract you sign might limit those rights.

Loss or damage

The Act gives you certain rights to compensation for loss or damage. If you don’t have a written contract with the carrier, your goods will be carried at “limited carrier’s risk”. This means the carrier is liable for any unintentional loss or damage up to $2000 for each separate item.

If you have a written contract, the contract should specify the type of liability arrangement.

  • If the goods are carried “at owner’s risk”, the carrier is not liable for any unintentional loss or damage.
  • For goods carried “at declared value risk”, the carrier is liable for loss or damage up to an amount you agree.
  • If the goods are carried “on declared terms”, the carrier and the customer are free to negotiate all the terms of the contract as they wish.

There is an exception for intentional damage. If the carrier or an employee intentionally damage or harm your goods, they’re liable for the full cost no matter what type of contract you have.

Under the Contract and Commercial Law Act, you have 30 days to make a claim. However, the carrier’s contract may specify a different period – in some cases just a few days. The carrier is free to do this, so it pays to check when you sign the contract.

Most carriers will only take goods at the owner’s risk – so it’s important you make arrangements for insurance, either through the carrier, or directly with an insurer.

Standard contents policies don’t cover your goods during removals by a third party, so you’ll need extra cover when you’re moving house. Shop around – for moves within New Zealand you can expect to pay between 1 and 2 percent of the value of the insured goods.

Regardless of how you buy the insurance, make sure you check the policy carefully in advance.

  • Find out whether you’re getting “replacement” or “indemnity” cover.
  • Check for exclusions – for example, some policies limit or exclude cover if you pack your own goods rather than using the professionals. You may be able to pay top-up insurance to cover exclusions.
  • Check the excess. A higher excess could result in a lower premium.

Make a list of all the goods to be moved and their value. The value you use will depend on whether you have replacement or indemnity cover.

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