Relocating to a new community is often a big adjustment. Learning about a new place, meeting new people, and settling in to your new home is time-consuming. Many people turn to professional moving companies to make their transition a bit easier. Knowing that a mover is taking care of transporting your precious belongings from Point A to Point B may ease your mind and save your back, but only if you take the time to hire a professional, reputable moving company. There are actually federal regulations in place to protect consumers on interstate moves. These regulations from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) outline the rights and responsibilities of consumers and household goods carriers.
To protect your belongings and ensure a smooth move, here are 10 key things to do when hiring a mover:
- Get a written estimate. In fact,get estimates from at least three different movers, but don’t show your hand and disclose competitors’ pricing. You don’t want the disclosure of a higher cost to affect a competing estimate’s accuracy. By seeking out multiple estimates, you can be sure to get a good deal from a company that you trust.
- Verify the accuracy of any partially complete documents before signing. Any document should be as complete as possible with all relevant shipping information, except the actual shipment weight. That information will be available once the truck is packed and ready to roll.
- Exercise your right to be present when your belongings are weighed. Household goods are typically priced according to weight. If the scale indicates that your box of prized first-place ribbons weighs the same as a box of first-edition books, you may request a reweigh of your shipment.
- Request guaranteed pickup and delivery dates if you’re concerned about the timeliness of your move.
- Understand the mover’s responsibility for replacing anything that doesn’t arrive intact. There is always the possibility of loss or damage in a move.
- Know the difference between valuation and actual insurance in case you need to file a claim for loss or damage. There will be different costs associated with each option (which can vary according to deductible levels).
- Confirm the method of payment at delivery in advance if you are working under a non-binding agreement. Commons methods of payment include cash, credit card, certified check, cashier’s check and money order. Remember that movers may give binding estimates.
- Know the details of your mover’s dispute settlement program in case you need to settle a loss or damage claim. Movers must provide this option to protect consumers.
- Make sure you get an estimate from an actual mover, and not a household goods broker. Brokers are solely responsible for arranging transportation in a move. Brokers do not own the trucks used in the move, have no authority to provide an estimate for the move, and are not responsible for loss or damage.
- Request complaint information from the FMCSA about individual movers, if you are so inclined. You may be assessed a fee to obtain this information.
These tips were taken from a pamphlet titled Your Rights and Responsibilities When you Move (OMB No. 2126-0025) furnished by Lawrence Transportation Systems. Federal law requires that movers must provide the pamphlet to prospective individual shippers. When choosing a professional mover, look beyond the cost estimate and make sure that you understand your rights and responsibilities. Reputable carriers will be able to clarify any questions you have.