CHEP Asia-Pacific has won a major case in the NSW Supreme Court over the misuse of 1,200 CHEP pallets by two food wholesalers.
CHEP took legal action after attempting for over 18 months to have the pallets returned or have the wholesalers enter pallet hire agreements.
Neither of the wholesalers, one in food and grocery, the other in frozen foodstuffs was a CHEP customer or an authorised user of CHEP pallets.
In delivering its judgment on May 2, the court confirmed CHEP was entitled to immediate possession of the pallets.
The President of CHEP Asia-Pacific, Howard Wigham, welcomed the decision, which he said upheld the company’s commitment to maintaining equity within the pallet pool for all users.
“Customers have told us that unauthorised use of equipment is one of the issues that concerns them. CHEP is committed to ensuring that equity exists for our valued customers in the operation of the pallet pool,” he said.
Mr Wigham said CHEP would continue to pursue businesses and persons who improperly used its pallets and other equipment.
Under the NSW Supreme Court ruling, CHEP is entitled to an injunction restraining the wholesalers from using or dealing with CHEP pallets, other than in accordance with the standard terms of hire for CHEP pallets.
The court also held CHEP could recover damages for the losses it had sustained from the defendants’ unlawful use, detention and conversion of CHEP pallets.
This is the second case this year in which CHEP has confirmed its right to seek redress against equipment misuse. In March, the Downing Centre Local Court in Sydney ruled in favour of CHEP in a case involving an independent fruit and vegetable retailer.