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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71031
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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We recently moved house. Furniture has been in storage for

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We recently moved house. Furniture has been in storage for approx 4 months.
When final delivery of long term storage items to our new house,Two items in particular were badly damaged. Staff who were taking items off the van were horrified at the lack of professional wrapping and care in storage to have caused this type of damage, as they all said they had regular training on this sort of thing. The staff unpacking us were not the staff who originally placed our items into storage.
A family Grandfather clock ( circa 1772 ) was not dismantled properly and was badly wrapped. Subsequently the Clock Casing and Movement were badly damaged due to the mistreatment of its handling and storage. Also a family Oak Court Cabinet circa 1890 carved by Ralph Headly, was split in the top part of the roof of the cabinet and damage to a piece of carving - again due to mishandling.
A visit by the area manager has confirmed, by the pictures taken at the time of delivery and the wrapping used as the items came off the vans - that all this was not in the way its staff are trained to handle and wrap these sort of antiques.
A visit by an independant clock restorer has highlighted and noted the damages and given an approximate valuation of the cost of repairs to be £1500 + vat (for the clock alone) - plus he said we should be reinbursed for the devaluation of the clock and Court Cabinet up 15% of their overall value.
The Area Manager of the removal firm - GB Liners Ltd - has said that in the small print of their T's+C's - it states that they do NOT reimburse for this de-valuation of antiques, as we accept damages could happen. But they wil pay for repairs using the traders they recommend. He instantly gave me the name of the restorers thay use and said to look them up on the internet. which we have.
Since then over a week has passed and no further communication has been forthcoming.
What legal standing can we make as these pieces are quite valuable ( the clock at retail price - in perfect condition is valued between £ 5500 + £6500).
As a result of the carelessness of the staff whilst our property was in their storage, these items are damaged and de-valued due to lack of care and attention to detail by the staff.
What is our position regarding making this removal company pay for the lack of care - despite their small print? Alexandra Bayliss
Is there any reason you don't want them repaired?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

No - we would like the items repaired.


However the damage to the items', prior to the removals, has de- valued them - and reimbursement for the loss in value has been implied by the area manager as not something they will cover.

Its certainly right to say that they cannot just have a blanket disclaimer upon liability. All disclaimer notices are subject to a reasonableness test and some are just plain void.

The fact that they have a disclaimer in their T & C will not automatically mean that they are not liable.

However, the fact that there is devaluation does not automatically mean that there is either.

This is a contract and they are under an obligation to perform with reasonable care and skill. That does not mean that they have to get things perfect but just that they have to act reasonably.

You seem to be saying that they did not wrap them properly and there is an argument that is negligent care and skill. That is probably why they have offered to repair the items.

The question of devaluation is really one of remoteness. Its a consequential loss upon breach of contract which can be claimed but it would need to be within the reasonable contemplation of the parties at the time the contract was entered. It would seem that if they knew they were transporting antiques then it is within reasonable contemplation that upon damage there may be devaluation.

It is generally harder to claim for consequential losses but a disclaimer in their t & c will not be sufficient to avoid liability.

Hope this helps. Please rate my answer OK SERVICE or above and I can answer your related questions.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.



If they dig their heels in - what right do I have to make a point ? - the owner of GB Liners is quite cute when it comes to avoiding payments.

Ultimately if they refuse then your only option is to sue.

The other problem with devaluations is quantifying the loss as there is always disagreement over things of that kind.

The fact of problems though should not necessarily mean that you don't sue. All cases have problems. It doesn't mean you can't win.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.



Could I go to citizens advice or would a solicitor be a better bet?

I wouldn't waste your time with the CAB.

How much is this claim worth roughly?

I will be delighted to continue with this but please rate my answer.
Jo C. and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Thank you - Both items are worth together in top condition at retail value £ 15000.00 should we wish to sell .

As you say how much is 'value lost' - just because of a few bits of damage - how much compensation is reasonable?

Well, thats a real problem.

You would have to have a valuation before and one afterwards and sue for the difference. That type of thing is always possible to challenge.

If its a sum under £5000 then at least you will be able to sue at the small claim court cheaply and self represent.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

thank you for your advice - much appreciated.

No problem.

All the best.