One of Australia’s longest established removals companies, WridgWays, is now in liquidation following an order by the Queensland Supreme Court.
According to a number of reports in the Australian media, many of WridgWays' customers have been left in limbo after their entire house contents were collected by the company and never delivered to their new homes. Some are reported to have been waiting for more than six weeks for their belongings.
In response to a story published by Australian news agency, A Current Affair, containing first-hand accounts from disgruntled customers, WridgWays’ Australia CEO Kobus Fourie released a statement, adding that the majority of employees had now been stood down.
“We are saddened by this turn of events and will support our people as best as possible through this time,” said Mr Fourie. “WridgWays has a long history of supporting the Australian consumer with relocating, and we remain committed to completing any in-progress consumer deliveries and will work to ensure all customers receive their belongings.”
He continued, “As with many other iconic Australian businesses, WridgWays has been significantly impacted by COVID-19, particularly some substantial non-payments by international removalists. This has resulted in difficulties within the WridgWays supply chain with some customers experiencing delays in fulfilling their delivery.”
A spokesman for appointed liquidators Hall Chadwick Chartered Accountants said that WridgWays, which has now changed its name to SFG Relocations, was part of a group of entities providing logistics, removals and warehousing services to customers in Australia and overseas and that they were reviewing the company’s affairs, including its asset and liability position.
Alarm bells started ringing for WridgWays back in February when two of its subsidiaries, WridgWays Pty Ltd and WridgWays People Pty Ltd, were placed into voluntary liquidation. The crunch came at the end of June when freight transport provider Pacific National filed a winding up application in an attempt to recover an outstanding debt.
The iconic Australian brand was established in 1892 by Ernest Wridgway and was bought by Santa Fe Relocation in 2010 for a reported AU$89 million. The company was later the subject of a management buyout led by Kobus Fourie resulting in its acquisition for a token price of one Australian dollar.