Tips about Moving Companies
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. 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.
· If your move is 30 miles or less, the move is considered an intrastate move and a “carrier type” may be licensed as “property carrier non-bulk.” If your move is farther than 30 miles it is an interstate move and must be performed by a mover licensed as a “household goods carrier.” Even though a mover must be licensed, the rules and regulations of the DMV do not apply to moves that occur in Virginia for a distance of 30 miles or less.
· Any moving company providing intrastate services should be listed as a licensed transportation service with the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). A list of licensed transportation service providers is available. If you hire a mover that is not listed, there’s the chance your property may be held for additional payment or not be delivered, and that the company may not carry liability insurance.
· The DMV does not have the authority to resolve consumer complaints. All complaints should be filed with the Fairfax County Consumer Affairs Branch or the Office of the Attorney General.
· The DMV can verify whether or not the rates you were charged exceeded the rates the moving company has on file with the DMV. They may also be able to provide the name of the mover’s insurance company. Any enforcement action requires clear justifiable cause.
For interstate moves the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has collaborated with the moving industry, law enforcement and consumer groups to help you choose a moving company for your needs. FMCSA provides a website for you to look up interstate moving companies. This database gives complaint history on the business plus their on-road safety record.
For more help and information, check out “Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move” published by the 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 with FMCSA or call them at 1-888-368-7238.