Moving rights, responsibilities and red flags when working with a moving company
Most of us know how much stress and anxiety moving can cause. Most people move at least once in their life and everyone is at risk to encounter problems with the moving process or with moving companies. We all should know what our moving rights and responsibilities are during a moving process. Aside from that, we have to have our guard up when choosing a moving company to do business with. You can read our article about moving scams here.
Your right to staying informed
Movers are always advised to offer information about the moving process, in physical or digital copies. Each moving company has their own way of doing their job, so they should provide this information to each of their clients before the move happens. Companies that don’t seem willing to provide information, or that avoid answering some questions, should be treated with caution. Interviewing a service provider is a practice most of us choose.
A good company will always have its information public on its website. The best companies will even post advice, tips, a FAQ section, and their registration details for everyone to see. Missing or the insufficient contact information is always a red flag.
Companies with good reviews will almost always choose to showcase their ratings from various websites. In this day and age, most of us chose our service providers based on their reputation. It’s everyone’s right to voice their experience or get information from previous customers before making a decision.
Your right to accurate tariffs and estimates
Every moving company operates with its own tariffs. This can come in various forms, like payment per hour or payments per distance traveled, packing materials, storage, the fee for using stairs, etc. As a customer, one of the most important moving rights you have is to know the prices in advance.
An estimate can be of two types: binding and non-binding. Your obligation is to provide the mover with all the details they should be aware of. Even with a binding estimate, if the customer didn’t provide all the details, the movers can request the extra payments, in accordance with the prices they provided. If the customer refuses to pay, the movers can use the so-called “hostage load” at the customer’s expense.
Unfortunately, this has generated many scam ideas. Movers that are well known to be scammers, use this hostage load method to increase their revenue without any reasonable motive. Estimates that are too low, or too high, should make you think twice.
The best thing you can do before deciding on a moving company to do business with is request estimates from 3-4 different companies. This way you can see the average cost of the same move and would allow you to pick a scammer from the crowd.
If you receive a non-binding estimate, the mover can only charge you in accordance with their tariffs. For this type of estimate, the mover cannot charge you more than the original estimate plus 10% at the time of delivery.
Of course, your moving rights also include not having to pay any big deposits before moving. Reputable companies will only ask you to pay when your items are delivered.
In this case, both parties need to know what their moving rights and obligations are. As with any contract, the customer has to read the entire document before they sign it. You don’t have to sign anything that you don’t agree with and the mover has to answer honestly to anything written in the document, that you don’t understand.
A reputable mover will provide proper documentation, including a Bill of Lading and the Order for Service. These two documents should come together and have the same information listed. The Order for Service is not a contract, but the Bill of Lading is the contract between you and the mover. The last one should always be read properly before signing and the mover is required to provide a copy for every customer.
Every customer is required to keep the Bill of Lading in case they need to file claims. This contract serves as proof for all the items transported and the condition in which the mover picked them up, as well as the costs of the entire moving process.
Never sign a blank document with the promise from the mover of “filling it up later”. This is one of the most common scams that leads to customers losing their money or belongings.
Both the mover and the customer should make an inventory before the move. You, as the customer, should always be accurate about the condition and size of every item.
Movers that use a moving software like eMove.io have an easier time managing the inventory. A customer can book a move and provide a detailed inventory list together with special handling details. Our inventory tool contains hundreds of common household items, but custom ones can be added at any time, by anyone using it.
After every item and its condition is recorded, the mover should give its customer a list to sign and provide a copy of it as well. This copy together with the Bill of Lading is your complete receipt in case something goes wrong.
At the time of delivery, the customer should always inspect every item to make sure nothing is broken or damaged. Any damages should be recorded by the moving company. The customer shouldn’t sign the receipt upon delivery without reading it and they should always check the items prior to signing it.
Pickup and Delivery
Your moving rights will always include having your items picked up and delivered to you at the appointed time. If the mover doesn’t show up or is late, it’s possible he made a habit out of it. In most cases, this can be easily found by checking out reviews from real customers. Your responsibility is to provide dates and accurate addresses where you want your items to be dropped off. The only reason a mover is entitled to not provide the service is when unforeseen circumstances occur, that are beyond their control.
If any of both parties are unable to provide or accept shipment, the other party should be notified immediately by phone, email, or through a person. Alternate pickup and delivery dates should be provided, in case changes can be made. As long as it does not interfere with another customer’s move, most moving companies will agree to reschedule.
If the mover fails to provide the services mentioned in the Bill of Lading, you have to promptly make a claim.
Movers are held accountable when it comes to damages or lost items. It’s their responsibility to make sure the job is done properly. They are required by law to assume liability for all the items they take in their possession during a shipment.
The “Full replacement value protection” is one of the available options to cover you. The total cost of the move will be higher with the protection on, but you have the right to opt-out of it. However, it’s important to use it. Under this protection, the mover will have the option to either repair your damaged items or replace them with items of the same type and value. Your responsibility as a customer is to thoroughly go over the value protection details.
Some movers will give their customers the option of purchasing third-party insurance. These types of insurance are subject to the State regulations in which they were obtained.
Your moving rights are all there but you also have some responsibilities as a customer, when it comes to filing claims. If you chose to pack the items yourself, insufficient packing that results in damages will not be the mover’s fault. You can’t declare a value higher or lower than it actually is when it comes to your items.
If any claims need to be filed, it can be done within 9 months from the date of delivery. The mover will have 30 days to acknowledge it and 120 days to provide compensation.
FMCSA’s most important 10 points to remember when you move
1. Movers must give written estimates. The estimates may be either binding or non-binding. Non-binding estimates are “approximations” only and the actual transportation charges you are eventually required to pay may be higher than the estimated price.
2. Do not sign blank or incomplete documents. Verify the document is complete before you sign. The only information that might not appear in your moving paperwork is: the actual weight of your shipment, in the case of a nonbinding estimate, and unforeseen charges that occur in transit.
3. Be sure you understand the mover’s responsibility for loss or damage, and request an explanation of the difference between valuation and actual insurance.
4. Understand the type of liability you sign for. Ask yourself if 60 cents per pound is enough coverage for your household goods or whether you need to purchase additional valuation.
5. Notify your mover if you have high-value items. High-value items are valued at more than $100 per pound per item.
6. You have the right to be present each time your shipment is weighed. You also have the right to request a reweigh at no charge.
7. Confirm with your mover the types of payment acceptable when your shipment is delivered.
8. Consider requesting arbitration to settle disputed claims with your mover.
9. You should know if the company you are dealing with is a household goods motor carrier (mover) or household goods broker, and if they are registered with FMCSA. Go to www.protectyourmove.gov for this information.
10. Do not sign the delivery receipt if it contains any language releasing or discharging your mover or its agents from liability. Strikeout such language before signing, or refuse delivery if the mover refuses to provide a proper
eMove.io is the most affordable moving software on the market. Visit our website to find out more about its numerous functions or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll be happy to answer any questions you might have.