Preventing Unwanted Items Collection Scams During the Moving Season | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Preventing Unwanted Items Collection Scams During the Moving Season

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Many Incidents of “Unwanted Items Collection” Troubles. Cases Targeting the Elderly Also Reported

With the moving season upon us, many people are considering hiring a waste collection company.

However, there have been a number of cases in which people have been charged exorbitant amounts of money when they requested a company they found on the Internet because they were short of time before they moved out. Some people point out that waste collection companies themselves are in a gray area.

On a personal note, the other day I had a problem at my parents’ house where a waste collection company took my bicycle and summer tires without my permission.

While the family members living with him were away on business, the company suddenly arrived and asked my father, who was in his 90s and alone at home, if he was riding his bicycle or in his car. When my father replied that he was not, the vendor took it away, even though he had never said he would give it to him.

However, when he consulted the police, he was only told that it was not considered theft because the vendor must have decided that he did not need it, based on the exchange of “I don’t use it.

There are a lot of problems with the collection of unwanted items…

The damage report was also told, “You can file it if you want to, but it won’t change the outcome,” and “That is if we find the culprit, but that is a story for lawyers and others to discuss, not the police,” and it was just treated as entrusted to us.

If that is the case, is there no choice but to cry oneself to sleep? We asked Kimito Kondo, an attorney with more than 20 years of legal experience and who has solved a wide variety of problems.


It is almost impossible to actually get back the money.

“There are many cases of trouble with unwanted item collection companies, but in reality, reclaiming is nearly impossible, so we advise against pursuing it in consultations. It would cost at least around 100,000 yen, and considering the cost-effectiveness, we recommend against it and suggest consulting with the Consumer Center.”

However, Kondo points out one issue.

“If the owner of the tires is the father, it may be understandable if they were deemed unnecessary in dealings with the company. But if the tires belong to the daughter living together, then? In that case, the father has no disposal authority, so the family members living together should file a damage report. Perhaps the company might claim they thought it belonged to the father, which could lead to confusion, but if the family, who are the rightful owners of the tires, file a report, the police must respond.”

It seems there are many troubles with unwanted item collection companies targeting the elderly, but regarding whether police response varies depending on the presence of dementia,

“I think it does vary to some extent, but since dementia is not easily discernible by third parties, they might use the excuse ‘we thought they had the capacity to decide.’ To prevent this, the use of guardianship systems to generally invalidate transactions could be considered, but the procedures can be quite cumbersome.”

By the way, in this case, since the company took away the items without providing any documents or business cards, it’s essentially considered theft. However, it was mentioned that without recordings of the conversation on the spot, it couldn’t be pursued as a criminal case.

Even “verbal” contracts are valid

Furthermore, regarding the absence of a contract, Kondo adds:

“If the unwanted items have value, it would constitute a sale or gift, but according to civil law, gifts of items without value can be freely disposed of, and oral agreements are considered binding. Traditionally, transactions in shopping districts were all oral. However, items covered by recycling laws, such as computers, have legally mandated proper disposal procedures, requiring written documentation.”

By the way, even if security cameras are installed, “it’s ineffective without audio recordings, and there’s also the issue of how much can be captured by the camera.” Even with security cameras capable of recording audio, “it’s difficult to identify the other party.” It seems like a dead end.

Is crying and accepting the situation the only option after all?

Some point out that waste collection companies themselves are in a gray area to begin with.

The way to distinguish dishonest operators, “Estimates” are essential.

How to distinguish between companies when requesting waste disposal services.

“First, let’s get estimates from several companies. Those offering extremely low prices may have issues. It’s also wise to consider online reviews. Though it might cost a bit more, it’s safer to use disposal companies recommended by moving companies, real estate agents, or acquaintances.”

Once you’ve received estimates and then request waste disposal, generally speaking, the estimate becomes the contract amount, and you can refuse to pay more than that.

“The issue arises when only the minimum amount is displayed, and then an exorbitant sum is demanded. Always confirm the upper limit.

Another thing to watch out for is when the estimate mentions ‘additional fees for XYZ.’ If XYZ applies, you’ll need to pay an extra fee for XYZ disposal, and whether that fee is appropriate becomes a concern.

Even if verbally mentioned, the possibility of additional fees exists, and if you proceed with the disposal after being informed, you are legally obligated to pay.

Hence, if there are additional fees mentioned besides the base fee in the estimate, it might be better not to hire that company.

If faced with an excessive bill, it’s best to inquire with consumer centers before making any payment.”


Check for antique dealer registration when requesting a purchase.

Next, it is important to clearly define the scope of furniture and items to be disposed of.

“Beforehand, identify the furniture and items you do not want to dispose of, and clearly communicate this to the disposal company for confirmation.

When requesting the disposal of furniture and items, even if there are valuable items among them, if the company determines them to be ‘unwanted items,’ they will dispose of them according to the contract.

For example, if valuable clothes are left in a chest of drawers and the drawers are disposed of, the company will not know whether the clothes are valuable or not. Rather, the company will likely assume that the clothes are meant for disposal. Therefore, it will generally be difficult to claim damages from the company.

From a criminal standpoint, this does not constitute vandalism or theft. However, if there is money or gold bars in the chest of drawers, since it can be clearly recognized as something the client forgot, if the company takes possession of it, it becomes a crime.”

Before requesting disposal, it is important to carefully confirm what is needed and what is not, and to either place items to be kept in a different location or clearly indicate them as not for disposal.

Furthermore, Mr. Kondo recommends choosing a company registered as an antique dealer as a way to distinguish reputable companies.

“In the case of companies that not only collect unwanted items but also purchase them, they deal with antiques, so registration as an antique dealer with the police is required.

Antique dealer registration can usually be confirmed on their website, and if a company has notified the police, it can serve as a reassurance. For example, if you are dealing with a company that buys refrigerators, washing machines, and furniture during a move, even if the items are of little value, they may still purchase them. So, it’s a good idea to first request a purchase from a company that buys items, and then ask them to dispose of unwanted items as well.”

But what if there is still trouble?

“First, consulting with consumer affairs centers is one option. Additionally, utilizing free legal consultations provided by local governments, such as 30-minute consultations, or using services like Houmaterasu, can be helpful. If there is potential for recovery, it might be a good idea to consult with a lawyer.”

Kondo Kimito, Lawyer. Affiliated with Shiga Daiichi Law Office. Born in 1964. Co-author of “A Book for Men Who Want to Have an Affair and Women Who Want a Divorce” (published by President Sha). Has contributed numerous articles to “ News”.

  • Interview and text by Wakako Tasuki Wakako Tako

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