Court orders more than $107,000 in fines, costs and compensation
A serial offender and the subject of two public warnings in 2015 for accepting payment for removalist services without properly providing them, Christopher Wayne Stanley Boyce, has been prosecuted by NSW Fair Trading and ordered to pay $80,000 fines, $1,360 costs and $26,061 to ten victims.
Mr Boyce failed to appear at Parramatta Local Court on Thursday last week despite repeated attempts by Fair Trading to contact him. He has habitually not returned calls, emails and text messages from his customers.
Fair Trading Commissioner Rod Stowe welcomed the outcome and said any further offending by Mr Boyce could result in further investigations, and if convicted, he could face a penalty of imprisonment for up to two years, as well as fines.
Mr Boyce was convicted of 16 Australian Consumer Law offences for wrongly accepting payment and not providing services in time. He traded under the registered business name Bustamove Removals from 25 June 2013 to July 2015 and since July 2015 under the unregistered business name Interstate Relocation Specialists (IRS).
While trading under the name IRS he used an ABN belonging to another Christopher Boyce in Queensland who operates an electrical contracting company.
Mr Boyce promised in his quotes to customers to provide a ‘gold service package’ including full wrapping and packing of all furniture, loading and unloading, provision of bubble wrap, blankets and other protectors along with full kit to disassemble and reassemble furniture, as well as insurance.
In the case of victims involved in court proceedings, Mr Boyce primarily failed to pick up or deliver items at all or failed to pick up or deliver items within an agreed or reasonable time.
In some cases, items vanished or were damaged, full refunds were promised but never eventuated and consumers suffered consequential loss due to other related bookings that depended on promised delivery times or having to pay other removalists or storage costs.
Consumers affected were moving goods between Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, the ACT and New South Wales.
Mr Stowe said Mr Boyce consistently offered consumers the excuse that he had problems with ‘broken down trucks’.
“He also repeatedly took large deposits or the full amount for the service he offered but then failed to collect goods on time or at all,” he said. “His behaviour is reprehensible and I encourage anyone who has had dealings with him or his companies to contact Fair Trading on 13 32 20. We will continue to monitor this individual and his dealings with consumers. Consumers should consider using internet searches to identify any adverse data about a removalist and obtain at least three quotes before entering into any transaction.”