Chargeurs Wool, one of Western Australia's biggest wool buyers, this week warned producers they could be liable to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in compensation if contaminants were found in their woolclips, West Australian Newspapers reported.

Company Australian wool purchasing manager Gary Turner said despite years of complaints from processors about the massive costs of in-bale wool contamination to their businesses, growers had not heeded the message. He said part of the problem was brokers not telling their grower clients that contaminants had been found in their wool for fear of 'loss of face' and producers had now probably underrated their liability. But Mr Turner said Chargeurs had had enough of absorbing the cost of contamination. From now on, where it could trace the source of contamination and make a proven commercial claim, it would pursue legal action for compensation from growers as well as private merchants, brokers or classing houses.

He said historically contaminated wool top had a discounted value of 25 to 40 per cent and claims against this wool could be in excess of $100,000. But the figure could run into hundreds of thousands of dollars, especially if the contamination was not found until spinning or weaving when it cost the processor three to four times more to resolve.