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Australasian Relocations

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Australasian Relocations are DODGY!!
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I am an Australian who set out to move to Berlin in March 2007.

I found a removal company and based my decision of the response of the girl on the phone, and the price. I was happy with both. My 3 cubic metres of belongings left my home in Sydney on 8th March, 2007 and was told to expect them between 6-8wks later. I mentally allowed for 3 months just so that I wasn't impatient for them to arrive. I remembered the name of the good boat that was to bring my goods, The M.S(?) Rebecca.. and used the website to track her movement over the oceans. Imagine my surprise when at the end of April I found that Rebecca was still sitting pretty in Australia!

This is the story 4 months later and my first letter to AFRA and to The Manager of Australasian Relocations:

"There are of course many details in between, but at present I have been informed that the UK delivery branch, European Van Lines, who were to receive my goods in the UK and then send them on to me in Berlin, have frozen my delivery and those of others using the same Australian company as Australian Relocations has not paid their bill to European Van lines.

As it is told to me by the UK side(European Vanlines) this is a bill outstanding for many months with much communication about it and at last word were told that it would be paid on the 28th September. At this point UK side decided to freeze all deliveries until immediate payment was made.

This is where I ask you for advice and help?

What are my rights in this area?

The estimated time for my delivery was given at 8-10wks. That I never believed anyway, which is lucky because now it is almost 4 months. 4 months is too long! I have begun a new life here, and everything serious and special in my life that is worth moving to the other side of the world is in that shipment, and it is of the gravest concern to me that I receive them all in good order and now.

I have paperwork that should have arrived long ago that needs to be submitted here for visa applications, for tax reasons and to apply for jobs and generally begin a life here. I have items that are needed next Wednesday night as I have my first gig here and nothing to work with. I had to marry without my wedding dress which should have been here 1 month ago at the latest!
I have family treasures in there that I entrusted to good care on their journey. I have my bicycle that laying sideways with wheels and handle bars missing is not as strong to transport as if it was fully constructed. I have many things that are I considered special and important enough to spend good money to send a long way, right now being used as blackmail for a companies indiscretion.

I am hugely concerned at the amount of handling my goods have received due to this elongated transport route and extra wharehouses included to store goods that have now been frozen.

I am now also frozen in my new life as I can neither apply for very important visa's nor make a decent application for work as all the papers to verify my education and abilities are stored and held as blackmail.

This is the personal aspect to my story.

Back to the practical;
I have no interest in being part of a bungle between two companies, and I feel that 4 months is quite long enough to await my own things.

I would like to know my rights in this matter, and if I can organise another company to collect my goods and deliver them to me from the UK. The UK side has informed me I am perfectly okay to collect my goods at no extra charge to me, and with research it seems I can find an alternative load for approx £500 = $1500au.

Am I inside of my rights to order an alternative load and invoice The Au company (Australasian Relocations) and expect reimbursement?

I understand there is the chance that Australasian Relocations have gone bankrupt and in this case I can expect nothing, but if this were the case, then I could not expect my goods to be delivered at all, so perhaps it is a chance I have to take.

Please understand, we are newly married and most of our minimal finances have gone towards me moving here with my dog (3000 au alone!) so to pay an additional $1500 on a move that originally cost me $1250 is not an easy task and I most certainly would be looking for reimbursement.

Another Strange point to have emerged is that the UK side said that if I paid the Au bill then they would certainly send my goods on immediately, but that bill is £1295 for 3 cubic metres and again I tell you I paid only $1250 for my load.

How this works I have no idea, but is perhaps another piece to a puzzle?

I have asked both the UK and the AU side to release my contact details to anyone in the same position so that we can perhaps team up and get a load together or something, but have heard nothing back.

I have placed numerous phone calls to the AU side and done none better than the vigilant front desk staff who insist that you are unavailable right until the time that they close business and simply disconnect you, no return emails or phone calls from the Managing Director, Robert Briggs nor the General Manager -Keith.

I am incredibly keen to have word or receive news of this matter, If this is something you have heard of already, or if you have you had anyone else contact you in the same boat as me (figuratively speaking).

I have been up early and to bed late to call the au team with no result.
Frankly, getting married and moving to the other side of the world is stressful enough without needing to take on the stress of a failing company and their inability to pay their bills and fulfill their contracts."

In the end I received my shipment at the end of 5 months! This story is particularly pleasant and fortunate compared to many others I have read of Australasian Relocations. I know of one lady who received her families antique furniture smashed into pieces and labelled "firewood" as well as the leftover lunch of the removalists in a special box of their own moldy and festering after many months journey. That poor woman sadly ended up legally having to pay Austrelo more for her destroyed furniture as when it went to court Austrelo simply said that she was a crazy hormonal woman who did it herself.. this poor lady was in London and unable to attend the hearing.

Whatever you do.. don't use these guys!
     
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Anonymous1 on 2009-06-30:
I used to be one of those receptionists. I was probably even one of the girls that was told you put you on hold until you gave up. And for that, and for every other problem that Austrelo caused you, I am truly, truly sorry.

For us, It was Robs way, or the highway..
And let me tell you, it didn't take long for me to hit the highway.

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Moving from Australia to the UK
Posted by on

I recently moved from Canberra to London, and had an unpleasant experience.

Australasian Removals were fine...until they had my stuff, and then the standard slipped. They would ignore my emails for up to two weeks at a time, and they refused to provide me with a receipt specifying how many boxes had been collected. I emailed and emailed and emailed asking for some kind of inventory, and finally, over a month after my goods were picked up they provided one (long after it could be verified against anything except my own list, of course).

Oh, and then it gets better. It turns out that there were all these forms needed by UK customs including a detailed list of the contents of each of the boxes, which they hadn't provided to me. This caused me delays at customs and extra fees. They claimed that I was somehow supposed to know what was in each labelled box, even though they had labelled them after collecting them from my storage unit in Canberra.

I complained about this and received such incredibly rude email replies from the MD, who was also very rude on the phone to my mother. In these, he threatened to charge me extra money claiming that I hadn't given my credit card details and that I was delaying! NOTE - I had provided it long before they even took my belongings, and had emailed them again to the woman who I had been dealing with. Apart from which, I had not been the source of any delay! I even had to get my mother in Australia to ring them up three times just to get a copy of the documents. Obviously I told him that he had absolutely no legal basis to add additional charges onto my card and that I wouldn't stand for it, so he let that one go fairly quickly.

So, I put up a negative review on www.shipping-international.com, only to discover that the moving companies there can remove negative reviews, leaving only the (I imagine very rare) positive ones left. I've seen a number of other negative reviews appear and disappear after a day or so since I started checking.

Also, the boxes were packed so badly in the container that the company at the other end even commented on the incompetence of Austrelo.

Not happy.
     
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Elise.G on 2008-07-08:
I currently have a shipment with Australasian Relocations and it is just as BAD! I wanted to ensure that this was posted with your comments so consumers are warned - DO NOT TRUST THIS COMPANY AT ALL!

A few months ago I sent about five boxes with this company and an employee called Stuart Streitberg was 'in charge' of my shipment. Again I can relate to your discussion, Stuart was so helpful and polite ... until he received my money! Then the problems began. First, he lost the paperwork that I completed in Australia before departing, then he claimed that I had not paid, when I had. He either did not keep track of his paperwork or was attemptg to illegally pocket some money of his own, I cannot be sure. The company had to conduct an 'investigation' and the invoice department sent their apologies saying that they had indeed received my payment. I can tell every consumer now that you do not want to deal with these types of problems when you have relocated overseas and have enough to adjust to already!

It also gets better ... when I paid I was told that the cost included door-to-door delivery from Melbourne, Australia to France. I recently received an email from ANOTHER relocation agency called EuroUSA and apparently I am required to pay 141.75 Euros if I want my goods delivered to my door from the UK!! I will not be paying this and I think it is unbelievable that this company has basically dumped my goods at UK customs and now expects me to pay another company to have my goods delivered! Clearly it is not legal either. Stuart Streitberg is no longer 'in charge' of my shipping and I have someone else helping me but I can now see that all of the problems have occurred already. The other employees seem just as hopeless. Also, the cost of this company was not cheap! I did 'shop around' and I did save a little bit of money with this company but the stress is just not comparable to saving a bit of 'pocket money'. After all, I have not received my goods and I have spent close to $1,000 already!

If anyone can recommend anything I can do or has had a similar experience, please let me know. I would appreciate your help. I am also thinking about contacting Today Tonight or A Current Affair as I know these shows do receive high ratings. Consumers would therefore know that this company is awful. Firstly I need to receive my packages!! My parents and family are in Australia and so they can also call frequently (and have been), which is much more difficult when you are already in another country!!

In future, I will pay a premium for a company that has received good 'word-of-mouth' from friends who have relocated.
Jester on 2008-08-11:
My son has just moved back to Europe from Cairns and I sincerely wish he had read a small handful of the negative comments before appointing Australasian Relocations.
They failed to arrive at the time they had promised. After getting hold of his possessions they then informed him that the cost would be double that originally quoted. He was informed that the shipment was due into port in a few days time, but so far they have furnished him with the names of two forwarding agents neither of whom know anything about it. E-mails go unanswered. This really is a shoddy cowboy outfit who should be put out of business
Jester on 2008-08-12:
Discovered yesterday that they have gone out of business. Unfortunately my son's belongings could be anywhere! It's obvious by the amount of adverse comment on the internet that the people running this company were in fact running a scam and I hope the Australian authorities make them pay for their dishonesty.
ChrissieC on 2008-08-14:
Hi,
Yes they have gone out of business. I know someone who dropped of stuff just last week in Sydney. It was still in the warehouse - and not overseas where it should be. You can turn up to the warehouse and get your stuff back. The solicitors are also good. They are Lawler Partners 02 83466000. RB certainly has left a mess.
praku on 2008-08-22:
I am also a victim of this fraud company and suffered a lot. My households are still pending. It was picked up by them more than 2 months ago. Robert Briggs (Director and Owner of the company)is high level cheat and fraud person. His company is under liquidation but I am not sure what punishment he will receive. He should be jailed for life otherwise he will open another company and will repeat similar fraud in different business line.
DEVG on 2008-08-23:
this is outrageous: I shipped my household July 2nd and am in france waiting for the goods: now I understand why there has been no response and eurousa claim to know nothing about it: who is in the same situation? is there a chance of recovering goods; or being compensated from the insurance we paid for or was that a scam too? is anyone interested in participating in a joint effort; perhaps taking to a current affair as jester suggested? I literally cannot afford to let this go....
LostItems on 2008-09-12:
I have also lost out with this company. My personal effects were sent on to South Africa. I am looking for the other 2 parties in the shipping consignment, pls contact me if you are expecting items in SA
NTKL on 2008-11-26:
I have to say having read some of your comments, I am one of the luckier ones. AR came and packed my stuff in June 08 and they did a professional job so I had no reason to expect any mishaps. However by the first week in August when I heard nothing about my shipment which was coming from Melbourne to the UK, I called their agent EUROUSA and asked to be told that the AR had gone into liquidation and that my shipment is in fact at the dock but as they were not paid by AR they will not be finishing the job off. In the end we were forced to pay the amount required by EUROUSA to get our shipment back and although it was 2 weeks late, and a few more thousand quids out of pocket, we got everything back. I am now pursuing the Liquidators to get reimbursement for the additional out of pocket expenses and wonder if any of you are doing the same. I have the name of the liquidator and about to send the invoices to them hoping at least to get some back. My credit card company said that I must try first and if they are unable to pay me, then there might be way round this and they will then take up my case. If any of you have successfully obtained a refund please let me know how you did it. Many thanks
spacemaverick on 2009-06-22:
Everyone Robert Briggs previously from Australasian Relocations (Austrelo) is at it again!
His new company just created is the "Institute Of Global Movers" and now recommends moving companies utilizing is vast 25 years experience???? (RIPPING PEOPLE OFF)
Web address is: http://www.instituteofglobalmovers.com
This man is nothing but a CON man SO BEWARE!!!!
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Goods shipped by Australasian Relocations stuck in Tilbury
Posted by on
My son and his family are caught up in this mess. The ship he was informed his goods were on is due to dock in Tilbury this weekend, however there is a major problem in that the forwarding agent appointed by AR understandably refuses to deal with it. In an effort to find some sort of solution I contacted a forwarding agent in Tilbury mainly to ask for advise. Keith, the guy I spoke to was extremely helpful and contacted the shipping company who confirmed that the ship is due and the container carrying the number we have is indeed on board. He then went on to contact the AR appointed forwarding agent who confirmed that due to non payment by AR he would not be dealing with it and he further informed Keith that there is already a container from AR sitting on the docks at Tilbury which nobody will touch.

Keith's company, Total Forwarding are able and prepared to sort out this mess but everyone must understand that any money paid to AR to get their belongings to their final destination is now lost, at least until the administrators have done their job, but all concerned must be realistic and accept that the likelihood of getting anything back is slim to say the least, therefore Total would charge you for their services, but at least you would get your possessions back!

In order to have the containers released to Total it is necessary for the shipping line to obtain authorisation from the administrators, Lawler Partners, Sydney +61 2 8346 6000. The contacts at Lawler dealing with this are Gavin or Dee.
If anyone affected by this feels that Total can help them I suggest that they put pressure on Lawler to give authorisation to Total as soon as possible. Lawler have nothing to lose in doing this.

Anyone wishing to discuss this or needing more information can contact me at tim.radcliffe at btinternet.com or mobile
     
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