|No matter what, moving is a stressful time. The last thing you need is your moving company making things worse. But sometimes even when you think a company is going to be amazing, they disappoint you. In the event of problems with your moving company, such as late delivery, broken items or an inaccurate estimate, it is important to know how to handle the situation. There are many common issues with bad moving companies so keep reading to learn what you can do to protect yourself and your belongings.
Late delivery of your belongings.
When your moving company picks up your stuff, they should provide you with a bill of lading that specifies the price and delivery date for the shipment. This is your contract with the moving company that requires them to deliver by the date specified. If there is a service delay, the movers should notify you and give you a contact name and telephone number in case you have any questions.
For any delay of service that results in a hardship, you may be entitled to compensation. You have nine months following the date the shipment should have been delivered to file a claim, but to receive a fair settlement, it is best to file a claim with your moving company within 60 days of the supposed delivery date.
Lost or damaged items.
During transportation it is very possible that your belongings can get damaged or lost in the process. A good moving company will do everything they can to prevent this but sometimes it is unavoidable.
All moving companies are required to have liability coverage for the value of your belongings. By law, the basic liability is only $0.60 per pound per article that is being moved. For more comprehensive coverage, you will need to purchase additional insurance. Your mover may have their own plan, or you can get it from a third-party insurance company.
Before you move, make sure to make an inventory of all belongings the movers are transporting so you will easily be able to identify if something is missing. After your delivery, take pictures of anything that was damaged during transportation and do not throw these items away. The movers or the insurance company may want to assess the damage before reaching a settlement.
Charges much higher than the original estimate.
The original estimate that you get from your moving company will either be a binding or non-binding estimate. For a binding estimate, the movers are required to charge the exact amount of the estimate for the services provided. For a non-binding estimate, the movers cannot require payment of more than a 10 percent increase from the original estimate, at the time of delivery.
However, if you request more services than those outlined in the estimate, or you omit relevant information about your move that requires more work, the movers may require full payment for those additional services upon delivery. Make sure to get all estimates in writing from the company so that you will be able to dispute any unjust increases. If you feel that you were wrongfully charged for something, you can file a claim with the moving company for a refund.
What you can do:
You have a few options to resolve your issues with your moving company. Make sure you retain all documentation, bill of lading and pictures regarding the incident.
Contact the moving company's customer service for information to file a claim. Many companies will let you do this through their websites. The movers must acknowledge the claim, in writing, within 30 days of receipt and they must promptly and fairly reach a settlement or deny the claim within 120 days of the receipt of the claim. If the claim is denied, the moving company must provide arbitration for the dispute.
- File a claim with the moving company.
File a complaint with the Better Business Bureau (BBB).
If you cannot resolve your claim with the movers directly, the next option is to file a complaint with the BBB. You can visit their website to fill out a complaint form. They will forward your complaint to the business, which is expected to respond within 14 days. If there is no response they will send a second request. They will then notify you of the response, or if the company does not reply. The BBB however, cannot force the movers to respond to settle your claim, they can only contact them on your behalf.
CAM is Canada's trade association that represents moving and storage companies. They host a network of reputable moving and relocation companies and provide moving laws and regulation details to consumers. You can register a complaint with CAM against moving companies that are member and companies that are not.
- File a complaint with the Canadian Association of Movers (CAM).
Visit CAM's website to fill out a complaint form. Like the BBB, CAM cannot require the moving company to reach a settlement or provide compensation for your claim
- For a complaint against a CAM member, they will record the complaint and refer the matter to the mover for resolution. They will act as a facilitator and provide necessary contact information and advise the consumer of any action taken on his or her behalf.
- For a complaint against a non-member, CAM will record the complaint to warn other customers and recommend an appropriate course of action. They may also provide contact information for governmental consumer agencies. They will not contact the mover regarding the complaint.
If all else fails, and you cannot get a response from your moving company, you can take them to small claims court. In small claims court you can sue for damages including property damage, personal injuries and breach of contract totaling $25,000 or less. Filing a lawsuit is time consuming and expensive, so make sure that you have all necessary documentation and consider hiring an attorney to advise before you make a decision.
- Take them to small claims court.
If it comes to this, you can file your claim online on your province's judicial website, in person, or by mail. The filing and court fees alone can add up, so make sure the amount you're suing for is worth it before you proceed with a lawsuit.