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Understanding Your Rights and Responsibilities During a Move

Published by Chris Townsend

Understanding Your Rights and Responsibilities During a Move

Moving is more than just contacting a moving company and letting them take care of all of the work. We are not just talking about how the work can be distributed depending on the type of moving services that you get, but also the things that are expected from you as a customer and the moving company as well. If you don’t know what to expect from the mover, and what they expect from you, it could easily lead to a misunderstanding that makes the whole move more difficult.

We wouldn’t want that for you, so in order to make things simpler we have compiled a list of things you need to know about the rights you have as a customer in a move, as well as your responsibilities, and those of the moving company.

Verify the company you are looking into is the right type of mover

It's vital to identify whether your moving contact is a moving business employee or a home goods broker while dealing with them, as each of these professions has different obligations.

It is illegal for a home goods broker to pose as a moving firm.

These firms are solely responsible for organizing transportation and must find a licensed mover with the requisite equipment to do the actual moving service. Unless given such permission through a formal contract with the moving company, a moving company is not liable for any loss or damage and cannot safely offer you with an estimate. Any estimate you receive from a household goods broker may be nonbinding unless you have a signed agreement.

Reputable and competent moving firms

Familiarize yourself with the regulations

While many of these standards are anticipated to be followed by reputable and competent moving firms, only certain motor carriers, notably those offering interstate movement of home items by motor vehicle, are required to follow them. It's vital to remember that these laws will not apply if your transfer takes place inside a single business zone, such as a local metropolitan region.

Know the Documents that you’ll see

When dealing with a large number of official papers, it's critical to understand their roles in the moving process. Keeping track of these will guarantee that your rights and property are protected, as well as ensuring that the moving business you're working with adheres to industry rules.

Bill of Lading

The Bill of Lading is another mandatory document that you should familiarize yourself with before signing, since it is your contract with the mover, outlining their obligations, the services they must provide, payment requirements, and amount of responsibility. It's crucial to completely comprehend this document before signing it, just as it is with the estimate, and a signed copy should be obtained and kept in your records.

Most significant aspects of the moving process

Moving Estimates

One of the most significant aspects of the moving process is receiving an estimate, which ensures you get the amount of service you need at a fair price. Understanding the ins and outs of this document's production is vital since it affects so many areas of your transfer.

Moving Estimates might be binding or non-binding
Another crucial distinction to understand is the difference between a binding and non-binding estimate. Both are written papers established in advance with your mover, stating an expectation of how much your moving procedure should cost and what services should be supplied, taking into consideration the weight of your shipment, the nature of the services to be delivered, and the tariff regulations in existence. However, because the firm is not tied into that rate, your real charges may surpass the specified amount on moving day if you get a non-binding estimate.

For non-binding estimates, it's critical to confirm in advance and in writing with your mover what method of payment you'll use on the day of delivery, whether it's cash, a credit card, cashier's check or certified check, or money order.

You are supposed to get a written estimate
When you request an estimate from a moving company, and ideally you’d get three estimates from three different companies, that company must then provide you with a written statement, detailing that estimate.

As this is such an important document, a signed copy of the quote should be carefully stored in your records. It’s also important to note that a professional, trustworthy mover will never charge you for requesting an estimate.

Partially complete paperwork

Incomplete Paperwork

A moving company may only offer you with a partially completed paperwork at times. Before agreeing to sign, double-check with the corporation that the paperwork has been completed to the best of your ability. Check sure the document has all possible information about the cargo and services delivered in order to establish the complete and final costs for the company's services.

Make Use of Your Rights

While moving firms are expected to follow specific guidelines to maintain industry best practices, you, the customer, have certain rights. For example, if you are unsure about the reported weight of your package supplied by the moving company, you have the right to have it reweighed as a customer. Perhaps you were unable to see the weighing procedure. Perhaps something doesn't sound quite right. Whatever your reason, you have the right to ask your moving company to do so.

In a same vein, you have the right to request that your moving company give you with confirmed pickup and delivery dates. That way, you may be certain that their availability corresponds to yours. Finally, you may contact the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration for any previous complaint information to ensure you're working with a reputable and trustworthy moving firm.

Explain their liability rules

Know how liability works

You must have a complete grasp of how your moving company will manage loss and responsibility in order to assure complete safeguarding of your items and belongings and to be prepared for any occurrence. Talk to your movers so that they can completely explain their liability rules, as well as their move protection alternatives for safeguarding against lost or damaged belongings during your transfer, before making any big decisions.

If you lose or damage anything during the relocation process, make a note of it as soon as possible. It’s even more important that you do this before signing for the delivery. Any damages should be detailed on both the moving company's and your own copies of the bill of lading. If you don't, your capacity to file a claim will be severely limited.

Prepare yourself

It's easy to feel out of control while dealing with such a difficult procedure. Rather than waiting for moving day, take control of the components of your relocation that you have influence over. That way, when the big day arrives, you'll be well prepared.

Be adaptable. Everyone finds moving difficult, especially when the process frequently takes unforeseen turns. Be patient and believe that your moving staff will guide you through the process, even if it takes longer than you anticipated.

Prior to your relocation, work with the mover to create an inventory. It's critical to be aware of what you have and to record your possessions and their condition on the inventory form. This information will be used in the backend to confirm that your things arrived safely.

When the moving truck arrives, be prepared. If you've decided to pack your belongings yourself, make sure they're orderly and labeled before the big day. If you're having the movers pack for you, go through your belongings ahead of time and pick out anything you'll need, such as an overnight bag, a first-aid kit, prescriptions, personal papers and documents, and valuables you don't want placed onto the moving truck.

Arrive at the agreed-upon delivery location on time. It's no little matter if you miss a delivery date set by your moving company. If your belongings are unable to be delivered due to your absence, your property may be placed in short-term storage, resulting in extra expenses.

Read the FMCSA’s pamphlet

Read the FMCSA’s Pamphlet

The FMCSA has a pamphlet available for movers named “Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move” available on their website where you can find a lot of tips and suggestions about how to better prepare yourself for a move, from finding a reputable mover to understanding everything that goes into the moving process.

They also have a very useful moving brochure called “Ready To Move” that provides a nice checklist of things to remember and to do before, during, and after a move.

Final Thoughts

Moving is already a tricky enough process. In order to avoid having a misunderstanding or a bad experience, it’s important that you know what is expected of your mover, and what is expected of you. Familiarizing yourself with your rights, and the responsibilities that you have, will ensure that you have a much more pleasant moving experience.

Another way of ensuring that your moving experience goes along without any sort of hiccup is working with a moving company that has years of experience in the business, like Three Movers. Contact us today and we will make sure your move goes as smoothly as it could go.

Pleasant moving experience.

moving rights and responsibilities

Chris Townsend is a moving professional and relocation expert that has more than 10 years of experience in the moving industry. With a background that includes working in virtually every aspect of the company, he has distinguished himself as an integral part of our operations with expertise in all things related to moving. Chris has a keen eye for detail and brings intelligence and passion to every project he’s involved with.

While getting his degree in communications from Santa Clara University, Chris started out with the company working in the field as part of our team of professional moving associates. Following graduation, he was promoted to our main office, where he has thrived in a role that involves increasing responsibility and requires him to wear many different hats. Some days, you may find him answering the phone and providing moving estimates, others he may be writing for our moving blog, and another day he may be coordinating a large corporate moving job or helping us with our marketing efforts. Chris has authored many of our in-depth moving guides, as well as provided our clients with information and advice to handle the complexities of their upcoming moving plans. Simply put, there’s nothing he can’t do and we wouldn’t be where we are today without him.

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