Purdy owns and operates a storage facility in Sydney. Bronwyn, who is about to list her house for sale, needed to declutter and store some furniture, books, and ornaments.
Bronwyn took the items to Purdy’s storage facility. Purdy and Bronwyn discussed a price for temporary storage. Purdy produced a document titled ‘Storage Receipt’ and said that Bronwyn would need to sign it if she wanted to use the facility. Bronwyn was in such a rush that she signed the document without reading it as soon as they agreed on price. Purdy then gave Bronwyn a copy of the document saying, “You’ll need to bring this with you when you collect your belongings.”
The goods were stored in a wire cage on the ground in the facility. Sydney experienced several days of severe storms and the facility was flooded. Bronwyn heard on the news that the area had been flooded and went to check her goods. She discovered that the books and lounges had been totally ruined by the flood and that two boxes of ornaments were missing. It appeared that one of Purdy’s employees had mistakenly released the boxes to a lady three days before the flood even though the lady did not have the documentation.
Bronwyn demanded that Purdy pay her the value of the damaged books and lounges, and for the contents of the stolen boxes. Purdy refused and drew her attention to the following clause written on the receipt:
We do not accept any responsibility for the loss of or damage to any item stored on our premises.
Bronwyn protested that she had never read the receipt and this had not been brought to her attention. Purdy then pointed out a large sign that hung above the main entrance to the facility. It read:
Please refer to your storage receipt for full terms and conditions of storage.
Advise Bronwyn whether she can recover the value of the damaged books and furniture, and the contents of the stolen boxes from Purdy. Fully explain your answer.