Every service industry must comply with a set of rules and regulations which ensure safety, responsible business practices and compliance with the law; the moving industry is no different. As a responsible consumer, when you hire a licensed moving company to assist you with your move, you need to be aware not only of your rights as a customer, but of your responsibilities as well. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) designed several consumer protection regulations to ensure you get the best possible service, and knowledge of what is expected of you as well. Ideally, when both parties follow protocol, the result is a smooth, and stress free moving experience. It is safe to assume that anyone looking for moving services wants to experience only the best this industry has to offer. To know and find the best, you need to know what to look for. The best way to begin your search for movers is by first learning what your rights and responsibilities are. Are you moving soon? Know your rights and responsibilities as a consumer. Don’t leave it to chance.
Moving soon? Know your rights and responsibilities
- Your movers should provide you with a FMCSA’s “Your rights and responsibilities when you move” booklet or link to the website.
- You can request to view a written notice of the mover’s tariff. A tariff is simply a menu of services and charges the movers offer.
- Your movers must offer an arbitration program for your use in settling loss or damage claims. Ask your mover for details.
- Your movers must provide you with a written estimate. An estimate is a document that states how much your move will cost you. DO NOT accept oral estimates. A moving company has the option with one of the following three estimates:
Non-binding Estimate: This type of estimate is not guaranteed. Therefore, the final cost may exceed or be less than the amount contained in the estimate.
Binding Estimate: This type of an estimate is the exact cost of the move. Your final charges will not increase or decrease.
Guaranteed-not-to-exceed Estimate: This type of an estimate is guaranteed to either be the exact amount contained in the estimate or lower, but not higher.
- Your movers must be insured and have the option of providing you with one of the following levels of reimbursement for your lost or damaged household goods.
Released Value Protection: This type of insurance provides minimal protection and is of no additional charge to you. In the case something is lost or damaged, under this protection your movers are liable for $.60 per lb.
Full Value Protection: This type of insurance provides full coverage for an additional fee. With full valuation protection your mover has the option to either repair or replace the item(s). Under this option, your movers can lawfully limit their liability for loss or damage to articles of extraordinary value, unless you have specified these articles on the official documents. An item that is considered “extraordinary value” exceeds the value of $100 per lb.
- Your movers must present you with a bill of lading at the time your possessions are done being loaded onto the truck en route to their destination. Keep in mind that at this time, the bill of lading will only be partially complete, as the move is at its midpoint. The bill of lading is a contract between you and the mover. It is a receipt of your belongings that also lists the owner, and the company performing the move. Your estimate must be attached to the bill of lading as well.
- Your must movers must accept multiple forms of payment. Such as cash, and or all major credit cards. Be cautious of moving companies that request you pay in cash only.
Long distance moves are priced differently than local ones, therefore additional set of rights and responsibilities apply.
- You may request the availability of guaranteed pickup and delivery dates from your moving company.
- Your shipment will be weighed to calculate the costs. You have the right to be present at the time your shipment is being weighed. You may also request your shipment to be re-weighed. In addition, you can request a scale comparison before and after delivery.
- You are responsible for reading and understanding all moving documents that are provided by the mover. If you’re unsure, it’s best to ask questions. Do not assume.
- You (or someone representing you) must be available at the time of pickup and delivery of your stuff.
- You must notify your movers in the case of an unexpected change regarding the move date/time, additional items, additional drop off point, etc.
- You must know the difference between binding and non-binding estimates. A binding estimate only covers the items and services listed on the estimate. If additional items are added, you mover may void the original binding estimate.
- Carefully review your estimate to know the exact services you are getting and the cost for those services.
- Do not conceal hazardous items and hidden extras. Your mover’s liability may be limited in any of these instances.
- You must understand the mover’s liability for lost or damaged items.
- Know the different insurance options your mover provides. Know the difference between them to avoid disputes once the move is done.
- You are responsible for paying the agreed upon amount and in the form agreed with the mover.
- Be sure to get a receipt for your moving services.