It is important to make sure that you understand the moving process before the movers get started. Here are some frequently asked questions about moving which might help to clear up a few misunderstandings or misconceptions!
The following moving questions and answers are adapted from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Household Goods Guide.
Are Movers Obligated to Move My Goods for the Estimate They Quote?
One of our most frequently asked questions is whether our estimate is a “guaranteed price.”
Moving companies are not required to stay within the parameters of an estimate if it is a non-binding estimate. Make sure all estimates are in writing. The estimate must clearly state whether it is non-binding or binding. If it’s a binding agreement, they’re legally obligated to follow the estimate.
Remember, a mover is not required to make an estimate for the shipper, so be sure to ask for a written estimate.
What Do the Following Estimate Terms Mean?
Non-binding estimate: A non-binding estimate is one that can change, although these estimates should be reasonably accurate and provide you with a general idea of the moving cost. Typically, a mover will schedule an onsite visit and check out the goods for the estimate. If you add items or request additional services, the mover may void the estimate or revise it. The non-binding estimate must be in writing and state that it is non-binding.
Binding estimate: A binding estimate is a set price estimate. It is a legal agreement between you and the mover that the cost to move the goods will not exceed the price agreed upon. You still may add services, and the cost for those services is due at delivery. Binding agreements must be in writing.
What Information and Paperwork Are the Mover Required to Provide?
At the time of the estimate or prior to the execution of the order for service, the mover must supply the following:
- A copy of its written non-binding or binding estimate (an e-mail format is fine for a non-binding estimate)
- A copy of the U.S. Department Of Transportation (DOT) publication, “Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move”
- Contact information for the mover for inquiries and complaints
When the order for service has been executed, the mover must supply a copy of the order for service after it has been signed and dated by you and the mover.
At unloading time at the time of delivery, the mover must supply a copy of the completed bill of lading/invoice.
What Is a Bill of Lading?
The is the contract between you and the mover. It should be given to you before the mover loads your goods. Some companies may provide the bill of lading in an invoice format.
Like any contract, it’s your responsibility to read it before you sign it.
The bill of lading is an important document, so don’t lose it. Have it available until your shipment is delivered, all charges are paid, and any claims are settled.
What Happens If the Mover Does Not Pick-Up or Deliver My Goods According to the Dates Provided?
Movers are required to meet something called “reasonable dispatch” requirements.
This means the transportation must happen—within reason—during the scheduled dates, as shown on the order of service and bill of lading.
Some things beyond a mover’s control, like weather, may be acceptable reasons for delay.
What Types of Insurance Will I Be Offered?
This is one of our most frequently asked questions. Movers generally provide two types of protection for your goods in case they are lost or damaged.
Limited liability: This is the basic coverage required by law and doesn’t cost you anything. Under limited liability, the mover is responsible for 60 cents per pound per item.
Full value: This insurance costs the most and covers the actual cost of an item’s replacement or repair. Before purchasing coverage from the moving company, check your homeowner’s insurance policy to see if it will cover your goods during a move and compare plans.
If There Is Loss or Damage to My Goods, How Much Time Do I Have to File a Claim?
In Texas, if you have a dispute about the charges or loss/damage to your goods, you must first file a written claim with your mover within 90 days of the delivery date. Your mover has 20 days to respond acknowledging your claim and has 90 days to pay, deny or make a settlement offer. Your mover has the right to inspect containers or damaged goods within 30 days of receiving your claim.
What If I’m Not Satisfied With the Mover’s Compensation for Damaged or Lost Goods?
If you are not satisfied with your settlement, you can contact the TxDMV for mediation or you may pursue the claim in a court of law (some counties require mediation before you can pursue your claim in a court of law).
If I Do My Own Packing, Is the Mover Still Responsible If Something Is Lost or Broken?
The short answer is no. Your mover cannot be held liable for damage inside boxes that their movers have not packed. It is important to understand that if the box arrives at your destination with no clear signs of mishandling, your claim will likely be denied. The only way to assure that you’ll be covered is to have the movers pack and to select full value protection. If you’re planning to do most of your own packing, but have valuable and/or fragile items that you’d like covered, leave them for the movers to pack.
What Should I Know About the Pick-Up and Delivery Dates?
Make sure the mover gives you a specific date or spread of dates on your order for service and bill of lading.
At pick-up: Be sure to receive a bill of lading showing the name of the mover responsible for transporting your goods, along with the mover’s address, telephone number, and license numbers.
At delivery: You are responsible for accepting the delivery of your goods from the first date to the last date of the delivery spread dates. Don’t depend on the dates given to you by the driver. Refer to your order for service or bill of lading.
What Should I Know About the Delivery of My Goods?
It isn’t unusual for the driver to ask for payment before the truck is unloaded.
At pickup, it is the driver’s responsibility to list the condition of your shipment on the inventory sheet. This is the time to agree or disagree with the mover’s description of the condition of your items.
At delivery, it is your responsibility to list the condition of your shipment. If there are items missing or damaged, make an indication on the invoice.
Sarge’s Moving Services, LLC can help you with any questions you might have about moving. Contact us today to get started!