Even when your move goes perfectly, you are still going to be dealing with more than enough stress. Sadly, even after doing full research on a moving company there still may be problems like late delivery, lost or damaged goods, added fees, and more. Don't let any of these things leave you feeling powerless. Here are some tips for handling the most common complaints against moving companies.
Late Delivery Of Items
The delivery date is indicated on your Bill of Lading. The moving company is required to have your items delivered to this date...and if they don't meet this 'reasonable dispatch' rule, you are probably entitled to some amount of compensation.
Basically, the moving company can be held liable for expenses you incurred while without your possessions. These can include hotel bills, meals, and other reasonable expenses (be sure to keep receipts). You will also need to file a claim with/against the movers within nine months of the date your goods finally are delivered.
Lost Or Damaged Items
Obviously, there is a lot of moving, handling, packing, and jostling of your stuff. Honestly, it is probably surprising that more things are not lost or damaged. Having said this, the compensation for such things is pretty low—currently, the average runs around 60 cents per pound per item. But, you could purchase more comprehensive insurance from the movers or a third party.
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Excessive Fees & Charges
There are some movers out there who will start by giving you a very low estimate, only to jack up the price later. If you object, the company will then hold your items hostage until you pay.
The key to avoiding this is to understand the various types of estimates. Binding estimates can't be changed and non-binding estimates are only allowed to be increased by ten percent of the original total. While there are some exceptions to this, you would normally be billed and have 30 days or so to pay.
Resolving Your Complaint
There are several options for you to consider in terms of resolving any issues you might have with the movers.
- File a claim with the company: This is the most direct option, and it may get some quick results, depending on the situation (and company). You should have already investigated and researched moving companies and already know their process for filing claims...but you will need to do this in writing.
- File a claim with the FMCSA: This is a more indirect approach. This government agency does not have the authority to legally intervene on your behalf, but a complaint could lead to a federal investigation. This agency regulates all interstate movers.
- File a claim with the BBB: This is a simple process that can be done right on the Better Business Bureau website. They will also keep you updated on the correspondence from the movers. Of course, they are only a third party and have no force of law.
- Sue the movers: You could, finally, take the movers to court. Just be sure you have everything documented. It could become a drawn-out and expensive process, but it is your final option.
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