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Man sues after Victoria movers drop refrigerator, but fine print slashes damages

Court battle a warning to anyone planning on using moving companies
One man won the battle, but a Victoria moving company won the war in a dispute over a damaged refrigerator that ended up in court. (AP Photo/Allison Dinner)

One man won the battle, but a Victoria moving company won the war in a dispute over a damaged refrigerator that ended up in court.

B.C.’s Civil Resolution Tribunal was asked to navigate a case that offers a warning to anyone hiring movers to check the fine print when it comes to how much is owed if anything is damaged.

Jose Astete hired Victoria-based 2 Burley Men Moving for a residential move.

In a March 21 CRT decision, Astete claimed his refrigerator was damaged during the move. Astete was asking for $1,237.73, the amount it cost to repair the damage.

In response, 2 Burley Men Moving did not deny “its movers caused the damage” but said its contractual terms limited its liability to $0.60 per pound for the damaged item.

“It is undisputed that the respondent damaged the applicant’s fridge,” reads the CRT decision. “The applicant says the respondent’s movers loaded the fridge from their home onto the truck using a flat dolly. They say the movers left the fridge on the wheeled dolly during transit, and the fridge hit other items in the truck and tipped over, causing the damage … The respondent does not deny it owes the applicant some compensation for the damaged fridge, although it disagrees about how much. The respondent says the applicant’s claim is limited by the parties’ contract.”

Astete signed the contract that sets out the $0.60-per-pound figure, and did not choose a “protection plan.”

The weight of the refrigerator was estimated to be 350 pounds, meaning the total compensation for the damage would be $210.

“The respondent argues the applicant was aware of the disclaimer and the protection plan, and knew they were not entitled to cash value or replacement cost,” reads the CRT decision. “The applicant does not deny being told about the disclaimer and protection plan, but says they are not looking for cash replacement of the fridge, just the amount it will cost to have it repaired.”

In the end, the CRT found in favour of Astete that he was owed money for the damaged fridge, but agreed that the money was limited by the contract language.

“In this dispute, I find the contract clearly lays out that, in the absence of a chosen protection plan, the respondent’s liability for damaged items is limited to $60 per 100 lbs, per item. There is no evidence the applicant selected any other protection plan. So, I find the limitation is binding.”

Astete will receive $210 plus post-judgment interest.

READ MORE: B.C. woman promised ‘no leaks’ in Facebook car ad, but sued after oil spilled everywhere

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Chris Campbell

About the Author: Chris Campbell

I joined the Victoria News hub as an editor in 2023, bringing with me over 30 years of experience from community newspapers in Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley
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