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Australasian Relocations (Austrelo) / Bad customer service!

1 Australia Review updated:

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 labeled box, even though they had labeled 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. Don't use this company if you have any desire to be treated with respect.

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Comments

  • Ir
      5th of Jul, 2008
    0 Votes

    I also used Australasian Relocation moving from Melbourne to UK. Just like any other complaints, they gave us wrong number to contact the UK agent, and we had to contact them SO MANY times to get the right details. They didn't have any moral and ethics. They simply put everything into the box and claimed that they were the best. They lied all the way throughout the whole process. I was devastated after my belongings arrived. The car didn't even have the proper clearance and the Piano was missing. When the piano finally arrived, it didn't crate as was promised from the beginning, as a result it was badly damaged. The UK agent also asked for payment for the port charges but I told them we had paid everything to Australasian Relocation, they said "NO" and refused to release my piano. We have no choice as it had been delayed for more than 2 months.

    When we called them or email them, they were RUDE and gave lots of excuses, such as SICK, not feeling well and etc. They are a bunch of liars and the worst removal company on earth. I also saw other people complains on their website, and they deleted their messages and left the good one there. I hope to warn anyone who wants to use this company to THINK TWICE before you make a move.

  • An
      5th of Jul, 2008
    0 Votes

    Please do not take notice of all the positive comments on this website www.shipping-international.com. Australasian Relocation deleted all the negative comments and kept all the best comments for their own good.



    I kept a copy of the negative posts on that site because I knew they will delete it again. Below are a list of comments from the above mentioned website.


    And here you go.

    Sue
    su7262@virginbroadband.com.au

    Anyone else notice all the good reviews aqre made from free email accounts? AR keep removing all the negative reviews. Their service is the worst I have ever dealt with. The charged me extra for a box of firewood, which turned out to be my pine dresser! If you want to be riped off I recommend AR.

    Jim
    Jim@whim.com

    I have been absolutely disappointed by this outfit. Their level of service is beyond rude. I have not received returns to my phone calls and after waiting over three months for my container to arrive in the UK from Melbourne I still cannot get my own property back because AR have not paid the freight fees and the UK agent will not release the good until this has been done. I have not a kind word to say about this company or any of its employees that I have dealt with. DO NOT USE THEM FOR A MOVE ACROSS TOWN!

    Keith
    kik_id@hotmail.com

    This company are currently under investigation by the Office of Fair Trading and under numerous pending legal actions, by separate individuals who have had not had their goods delivered, and who have been lied to at every step of the way by Australian Relocations. Currently this company have goods on hold in the UK due to non-payment of Port Taxes. We have written about their conduct to 'A Current Affair'... and hope to see them outed for the charlatans they are, on TV and in the press soon. Go with someone else who has an inkling of professional conduct!

    p.s. Australasian Relocations have no justification for trying to remove this comment as we have a catalogue of all written legal documentation to substantiate these comments.

    Hamish
    hrbowden@hotmail.com

    I have to agree with all the negative comments posted (both now and previously deleted). After my shipment was delayed by a number of months for non-payment of their local UK subcontractor, and having to pay additional and unsubstantiated fees, I received my goods in Italy with substantial and "never before seen damage".

    Having now waited many months for payment of insurance claim, and unless they respond soon, I will now have to consider legal action - and look to seek additional damages for time and additional required temporary purchases.

    I of course have to strongly recommend that you do not use this company or individuals (Keith Boshell or Robert Briggs).

    P.S. I am surprised that Austrelo have not removed these negative messages as usual!!

    Valeska
    luithian@hotmail.com

    I absolutely do NOT recommend using this company. I used Australasian relocations to move from Australia to the UK last October (2007).

    We went with Austrelo because their initial contact was very friendly and helpful.

    Our stuff was picked up about a month before we left, and arrived in the UK, but we had to wait 3 months, (sleeping on the floor in our unfurnished apartment) to receive it because it was sitting at the dock. Turns out Ausrelo hadn't paid the UK shipping company, not only for our container, but for others' as well. We spent weeks phoning/emailing the company, and were told to call back numerous times, and then were blatantly lied to.

    When our stuff finally arrived, a number of items were broken, and we put in an insurance claim, which was handled by Austrelo. It has been 4 months now, and when they have bothered to reply, they have given us excuses including staffing issues, people being on leave, losing our documentation, etc, and we still cannot get a clear answer out of them regarding whether the clain has even been lodged, much less processed.

    Janet Bellairs
    jaybee2151@hotmail.com

    I took this awful awful company to Tribunal for (a) ripping up several pieces of antique furniture and calling it "firewood" and also charging me an extra £2, 000 for "extra" items which did not exist. Apparently the Tribunal in Sydney thought that Mr Briggs and his crap company was of exemplary character and I lost my case. Strangely all bad comment seem to disappear off this site and are replaced by glowing references, obviously from his friends - if he has any

  • El
      10th of Jul, 2008
    0 Votes

    I currently have a shipment with Australasian Relocations and it is the worst experience of my life! Consumers - DO NOT TRUST THIS COMPANY AT ALL. THEY ARE A BUNCH OF CROOKS!
    A few months ago I sent about five boxes with this company and an employee called Stuart Streitberg was 'in charge' of my shipment. Stuart was so helpful until he received my money.

    After I had paid and left Australia, he lost the paperwork that I had completed in Australia before departing including important custom forms and a photocopy page of my passport. My shipment was supposed to arrive on June 30. I am still waiting. I can only conclude that this is due to Stuart’s lack of organisation and not caring whether a consumer’s shipment arrives safely. A month later, I received another email from Stuart claiming that I had not paid, when I had. You cannot imagine how distressed I was at this point and how helpless I was feeling, being in another country. Of course, I kept the receipt from St George bank where I had to deposit the cash and I knew what day and time I deposited the money as I sent Stuart an email as soon as I had deposited the cash. The company had to conduct an 'investigation' and the invoice department sent their apologies saying that they had indeed received my payment. However, this was after I told them I had kept all receipts and they would not get away with such a scandal.

    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! I am fortunate that I have had access to the Internet while abroad. I can imagine that many consumers cannot access the Internet as easily when problems like this occur as it is not so much of a priority when you are starting a new life abroad, finding somewhere to live and starting a new job. As a result, shipments can go into storage at the port when consumers are not aware of the ‘port exam fees’, which I will explain later, and there are daily charges of 12 pounds. I can imagine for many consumers that it gets beyond a point where they can afford to pay for their goods, which they had already paid for with Australasian Relocations in Australia. I am shocked that this company can still operate since they are crooks. I am also perplexed as to why I should have to pay port exam fees when my shipment has not even arrived at port and it is the responsibility of Australasian Relocations.

    It gets better ... when I paid Australasian Relocations I was told that the cost included ‘door-to-door’ delivery from Melbourne, Australia to France, which I have in written documentation from Stuart Streitberg. I have 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!! This is a so called ‘port exam fee’. Australasian Relocations are crooks and they are working in collaboration with EuroUSA to take advantage of consumers. I will not be paying this ‘port exam fee’ and I think it is unbelievable that this company has basically dumped my goods in the UK with this company and now expects me to pay EuroUSA to have my goods delivered to my door.

    I have also been sent multiple Word and PDF attachments from EuroUSA describing their company policy and apparently I have to complete all of the paperwork I originally completed in Australia again. This includes documents regarding the delivery address and more payments. I will not be signing these documents, which includes pages and pages of small fine print. As you can imagine, I thought I dealt with all of the paperwork in Australia so it is very distressing to now receive these documents again requiring further payments. Where have my original documents gone? I asked EuroUSA and spoke with an employee called Ruth Wainwright who said that they never received these documents. I also asked if they have had problems with Australasian Relocations in the past and her response was “unfortunately, this happens all the time”. EuroUSA knows that Australasian Relocations are crooks and taking advantage of consumers, yet they still agree to accept their business because they realise that someone has to pay ‘port exam fees’ to release shipments from the port. I can only conclude that they are in together on these scams.

    Stuart Streitberg is no longer in charge of my shipment. The email I received from Mark Sanga, Manager of Australaisian Relocations in Melbourne, included comments such as “I have now had the opportunity to read through the emails, I apologise for what is clearly an abysmal performance on Stuart’s behalf. I will now continue to monitor his performance on an ongoing basis to ensure there is not a reoccurrence of this situation”. But have they done anything to help? The answer is NO! I am being thrown additional fees and my shipment has not even arrived at port!

    I now have another useless employee at Australasian Relocations called Clorinda Jones attempting to help me, or pretending to help, it is not so clear. Every time I call Australasian Relocations in Australia, the person that I need to speak to is always “unavailable at the moment”. I received an email from Clorinda Jones stating “I will come back to you regarding the additional charges by close of business Thursday 10th July 2008 (AEST)” regarding the additional ‘port exam fees’. Do you think I received an email or phone call? NO!

    There is a group of consumers like myself who are now forming an official website that will permanently stay online so consumers are made aware that Australasian Relocations are crooks and to help close the business. As individual consumers we are not so powerful in voicing our opinion regarding behaviour like this, but we do have a lot of power if we collaborate and expose Australian Relocations for the crooks they are. If you have had a bad experience, please email Andrew Chan at andrewchan69@hotmail.com who has taken the initiative to get this website started!

    In future, I will pay a premium for a reputable company that has received good word-of-mouth from friends and family and does not engage in illegal activities like that of Australasian Relocations.

    Until I receive my packages, I will continue to post my story about Australasian Relocations.

  • Mb
      12th of Jul, 2008
    0 Votes

    Yes - I agree - "Buyer Beware".
    I was moving some of my father's possessions to the US after he passed away. They broke things due to incompetent packing. Then the agent here would not release belongings until I wrote another check. One entire case was missing from the delivery. It was finally found delivered to someone else who was honest enough to say, "this isn't mine". Trying to get them to reimburse me for damages has been laughable. Of course, there is a deductible, but I have spent more in international phone calls trying to get them to honor their end than I will probably get back - assuming I ever see it. It has been over a year, but on principle, I hate to just give-up!

  • Te
      6th of Aug, 2008
    0 Votes

    I am going through the same issues.

    I moved from Australia to Jersey and AR made me believe that it would have been cheaer ifi organized for the delivery of my car to Jersey from london. they didn't point out the handling charges £680 to be paid to their agent to have the car released because clearly adding those costs on top of their quote wuldn't make them competitive.

    The funny thing is that, after signing the agreement with them someone told me of their bad reputation around not paying their agent's fees. I contacted Robert Briggs to expalin and saying him that I was afraid I hadn't made the right choice using them. He assured me ( in writing!) that the competitors post thing on the internet to obscure AR reputation and that their lawyers are taking action to remove the negative comments and he assured me of their top quality service.

    Anyway, my household goods for a door to door delivery service are being held in Leeds by their agents because AR haven't paid them and now it's 1 month. And I aalso ended up paying £680 handling charges + £178 delivery of teh car to my door . And here i am discovering that the complaints are not actually poisted by AR's competitors!

    If AR they don't take action within 24 hours and don't reimburse me of £680 paid in excess to the transport cost of the from Lodon to Jersey, I 'll sue them for fraud as they induced me to accept their services under false promises .

    I know of someone who has actually lost their case with them, but we should pool to stop them doing what they are doing.

    If anyone is interested in pursuing legal action jointly, please contact me at my email address.

    Teodora

  • Ju
      10th of Aug, 2008
    0 Votes

    FYI Australian Relocations has been placed in Administration as of thursday 7 August. I have all my personal goods with them and am busy chasing them at the moment.

    If anyone has the personal details of Mark Sanga please get back to me as I intened to pay these guys a visit.

  • Ju
      10th of Aug, 2008
    0 Votes

    Further to the last post, the administrator is Lawlar Partners of Sydney, their contact number is +61 2 8346 6000

  • St
      11th of Aug, 2008
    0 Votes

    I am unfortunatly happy that i am not the only person in this predicement.
    My pregnant wife, 10 month old son and I made the move from Cairns to Sweden back in May for our wedding and new life in Sweden. I called AR the friday before our goods were to be picked up the folowing Monday only to be told that they could not make the pick up till that thursday at which point we were supposed to be out of our rental property. After many more calls that friday they had arranged pick up for the tuesday which was fair enough.
    About 5 weeks later i recieved an email from AR telling me that due to a gain of 1.8cbm i had an extra $1500 owing to them. I was furious! Due to the time difference i sat up on the phone untill 3am trying to get hold of Robert Briggs who had made the original qoute. Up untill the day we made our 1st payment he was very easy to get hold of, but now it was impossible!
    I told the girl on the other end that it was bull s#%t that our stuff hadn't even left Australia yet and untill it did they would recieve no more money from me.
    I have since been informed by email that it is on a ship bound for the UK but untill payment is made it cannot be released. The 1st email stated no agent as my forwarding agent, to which i replied again. The next gave me a name and number whom i called but they weren't even dealing with that vessel, so i replied again only to recieve another company who know nothing of it. During this time I paid the remaining invoice and called AR to see that they had recieved it only to reach an answer machine with no recorded message.
    Today i tried to access there web page only to find that it no longer exists! And neither does the company!
    I did find however that the cma cgv auckland which our container is supposed to be on ports in the UK on 17 August. Where do we go from here???

  • St
      13th of Aug, 2008
    0 Votes

    Does anyone else have shippments stuck in Tilbury, UK??

  • Ch
      13th of Aug, 2008
    0 Votes

    Hi,
    So now that they are in receivership what happens with everyone's stuff?
    Will lawyers be contacting the poor people who are moving? And when will that happen?

  • St
      13th of Aug, 2008
    0 Votes

    The poor guy who is left to pick up the pieces is called Gavin from Lawler partners. His number is above. When i spoke to him on monday he said that he was just trying to figure out where and what stage of proccess peoples things were in. Sounds like anyone with stuff stuck AR??

  • St
      13th of Aug, 2008
    0 Votes

    Sorry, sounds like any one with things stuck in the UK will have to pay for their stuff to be forwarded themselves. But containers contracted by AR will need to be released before it can happen. Does anyone know who AR used for insurance? I paid my premium but never saw any reciept or paperwork??

  • Ka
      14th of Aug, 2008
    0 Votes

    If you just dropped your stuff off at their warehouse in Sydney last week, you can go back to the warehouse, bang loudly on the fence and the delightful RB will allow you to enter the premises. If you are not in the country (like me) you need to send a very assertive friend and they will need a signed letter giving permission for your friend to pick up the goods. I also faxed through my invoice and the company inventory, so my stuff is now with my friends. What about the 1010$$ I paid in cash for the original shipment? I guess that's gone... any ideas???? Also apparently Dee from Lawlar Partners in Sydney was empathetic and Nick (also from lawlar partners) was quite helpful to my friends chasing it up from the Sydney end.

  • St
      14th of Aug, 2008
    +1 Votes

    By RB are you refering to Robert Briggs? If so could someone do me a favour and pay him a visit. When you see him just punch him in the head, good for nothing, lying little ###!!

  • Te
      14th of Aug, 2008
    0 Votes

    I had a call from their agent in Leeds today, saying that if I want my staff released, I have to pay an extra £480 for handling charges and delivery to my door. With this it is about an extra £1300 I had to pay, including a payment for the car.

    The agent cannot keep the goods any longer as they will start charging us for storage. I am not sure they can do this when it's not our liability as we have already paid and they contracted with AR, not with us individually. If anything, they should keep holding on our belongngs and charge AR for storage costs.

    The agent also added that if and when they receive any money from AR administrators, they will reimburse me and the other 18 people whose belongings were on the same container arrived in Leeds on 10 July 2008.

    I have chosen to pay the charges and see if I can get any luck with having my money back, either through their administrators or through the credit card insurance.

    It's a no win situation, but at least they will not do any more damage!

    Teodora

  • Cl
      14th of Aug, 2008
    0 Votes

    I agree completely with all the comments. I must have been their very last victim in Melbourne. The crook we dealt with was Stuart Streitbert.

    Let's form a group and get our money and belongings back. I am in Brazil, but will do everything I can from here. My former partner is handling everything from Melbourne.

    I checked the ASIC website, and Austrasian Relocations has filed the following:
    - On 25/07/2008 - Form 519B Notification of Withdrawal of Application For Winding Up Order (number 024775306)
    - On 07/08/2008 Form 505J Notification of Appointment of Liquidator (Creditors' Voluntary Winding Up) (number 7E1748954)
    - On 14/08/2008 Form 525 Notice of Disclaimer of Onerous Property (Number 7E1758694)

    My removal and payment matches these dates. My goods were picked up in Melbourne on the same day as the first document was filed, 25/7, which was also when Australasian Relocations received a bank check for $5000.

    On 29/7, I spoke to our representative, Stuart Streitbert and asked for additional goods to be picked up. Those were scheduled for 6/8. So, the dates of these transactions clearly show that Australasian Relocations entered into a contract with us with full knowledge of their financial situation and imminent bankruptcy. As far as I know, this is fraud!!

    Has anyone contacted A Current Affair or Today Tonight? Maybe some media will help get our group some help and put pressure on the liquidators.

    Clarice

  • Ti
      15th of Aug, 2008
    0 Votes

    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 www.lawlerpartners.com.au +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@btinternet.com or mobile +44 7971 796855

  • Ju
      17th of Aug, 2008
    0 Votes

    Yes, I think they are absolute crooks. I have just been informed that my shipment from Melbourne is now held at the Macau port because AR is now bankrupt and has not paid the ocean freight as well as local agent that is suppose to handle customs clearance and delivery - so much for door to door service.

    It's a very frustrationg situaton as moving into a new country and new environment is already stressful now ... totally unnecessary and unprofessional on their part ... for subjecting us to all these when we have paid them in full already for their service.

    Does anyone know any Australian authorities we can contact with regards to this unprofessional conduct ... also, how do we deal with our insurance claims now that they are no longer contactable? Even tho I've paid in full for full insurance coverage, I have yet to receive any insurance cert (but I do have the invoice stating clearly that they have debited my account for the insurance plus door-to-door delivery charges etc).

  • Di
      18th of Aug, 2008
    0 Votes

    And another story,

    We are a young family with a newborn and should have had our stuff picked up by AR this week Thursday. We transferred all the money in advance by EFT... and all is lost of course, $3000. We are hurt badly, financially, because it will now cost us in total more then to buy everything new in Belgium.

    We found out because Clorinda didn't pick up her phone anymore and the website was gone. You can imagine the panic we were in. No'one told us or called us! PS: She is on Facebook.

    We are now in the middle of trying to find another company to do the pickup. We are going for Grace removals now. Please don't tell me they are bad... I'm just going to close my eyes and hope everything will arrive at the other side.

    A lessons we learned:
    - ALWAYS pay by credit card! We would have had our money back.

    AGAIN, FOR ALL OF YOU WHO PAYED BY CREDIT CARD. CONTACT YOUR BANK.
    If a service is not delivered you are allowed to roll back your payment.

    Cheers,
    D

  • Al
      19th of Aug, 2008
    0 Votes

    We are in the same position as everyone else, we only found out by reading comments like those above on the internet.

    We are no longer in the country and have no idea where our shipment is, and like everyone else, tried many many times to contact Corrinder to no avail.

    We are shipping from Melbourne to Vancouver, B.C. Canada. Is anyone else shipping to Canada or know anyone who is?

    It is disgraceful that no one has been told anything!

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