Are you planning to move soon? Before you hire a moving company, find out your rights and responsibilities as an individual shipper of household goods. An individual shipper is any person who owns the goods being transported. It is important that you select a reputable mover, understand the terms and conditions of the contract, and pursue the remedies that are available to you in case problems arise. Follow these simple rules to help make your move a smooth one:
- Movers must give written estimates.
- Movers may give binding estimates.
- Non-binding estimates are not always accurate; actual charges may exceed the estimate.
- If your mover provides you with a partially complete document for your signature, make sure the document contains all relevant shipping information and is complete before signing it.
- You may request from your mover guaranteed pickup and delivery dates.
- Be sure you understand the mover’s responsibility for loss or damage, and request an explanation between valuation and actual insurance.
- You have the right to be present each time your shipment is weighed.
- You may request a re-weigh of your shipment..
- If you agree to move under a non-binding estimate, you should receive written confirmation from the mover as to the method of payment at delivery (i.e. cash, certified check, money order, cashier’s check, or credit card.)
- Movers must offer a dispute settlement program as an alternative means of settling a loss or damage claim.
- When contacting the mover, you need to ask the person you speak to whether he or she works for the actual mover or is a household goods broker (HGB.) A HGB only arranges for transportation and generally has no authority to provide you an estimate.
For more help and information, check out “ Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move” published by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA.). FMCSA’s regulations protect consumers on interstate moves. If you have problems with your move and need help, you can file a complaint online or call 1-888-368-7238.