In simple terms, the bill of lading is the document that serves as the contract between you and the moving company. They are legally required to give you a copy of the bill of lading (also known as BOL) and you must receive it before any of your belongings are loaded for transport. It’s important to note that it is your responsibility to read over the bill of lading and the terms of service detailed therein before you accept it. Once you have signed it, the bill of lading becomes an official contract between you and the moving company so look it over carefully. The BOL is similar to an Order for Service in that it includes all of the pertinent details that relate to your shipment, which we will cover below.
While you should carefully look over all of the information included in the BOL, there are some details that deserve more of your attention than others. For example, the pickup and delivery dates that you’ve agreed upon with the moving company should match what is listed on the BOL. The terms and conditions of the delivery should also match with what you’ve discussed with the mover, as well as the amount to be charged. Whether your agreement with the moving company involves a binding or non-binding agreement, the amount you’ll be charged should be outlined in the BOL. You should not sign and accept it until you have verified that all of the information it contains matches with your expectations.
Make sure that you keep your copy of the BOL in a safe place since it serves as your official contract. You should not discard it until all payments have been made to the moving company and you’re satisfied that the job has been carried out as discussed and without any loss or damage to your belongings. If you do have a dispute with the movers, either for damage, loss, or breach of contract, the BOL will serve as the main document that you’ll use to make your case.
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There are a number of things that should be included in the BOL, most of which pertain to the agreement you’ve made with the moving company. Remember that any promises or arrangements made over the phone or through email are not official if they’re not listed on the BOL. Here are the basic elements that should be included: