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Do you know how to protect yourself against a bad moving experience?

Posted 02-04-2009 at 05:34 PM by Scott Luther
Updated 02-04-2009 at 05:46 PM by Scott Luther (formatting)

The first thing you should do is ask someone you trust for a referral. If someone you trust, like a family member, or your Realtor, feels confident in their ability to refer you to a mover, they must have had a pretty good experience themselves. That is always a good place to start, but keep in mind, a mover is only as good as his last move. You still need to protect you and your family’s best interest. Here are a few tips.
  • Homework. Starting with a mover you were referred to, get at least two other names. Do a little background check on them first. Start with the better business bureau in your area. Do a Google search on the local agents’ company name. Disregard searches with the carriers’ name. Names like United, Mayflower, Allied, etc don’t own any trucks and are the franchise name. It is the local company (aka agent) who you should check on. Last time I checked, not one move was performed good or bad because of the color of the truck.
  • In-Home Surveys. Only use a mover that is willing to provide an in-home survey. Most good movers will provide in-home surveys, free of obligation at no charge. If you get in-home surveys, it eliminates most issues you hear regarding moving scams. If you have read my previous blog that refers to some common problems involving internet movers, you would know what I am alluding to.
  • Written Estimates. Get at least three estimates! Not just any estimate either. Get your mover to provide a written, guaranteed, not-to-exceed price on the spot after the survey. Most of your reputable movers can do this rather easily.
  • Standards of Performance. Find out from your potential mover what their standards of performance are and how they track them. If you get a blank stare, be afraid. You need to know what their expectations are going to be for your move so you can set yours appropriately.
  • Standards of Employment. You should only use a mover that uses full-time employees. Do not settle for part-time help, day labor, or temp service help. Their men should be background-checked, and drug tested. After all, they are going to be in your home handling all of your belongings. Sooner or later, you have to hand over every thing you own to a perfect stranger. Make sure you don’t settle on cheap labor.
  • Guaranteed Dates. Make sure the loading date is a guaranteed pick-up date that is firm. Most times you will have a closing the very next day. Find out what their plan is if the truck scheduled to pick up your things is delayed. Make sure they guarantee the pick up. Also make certain you get a guaranteed range of days they will deliver. This is typically called a “delivery spread”. Find out what their policy is if they are late…by even one day. Most good companies will give you a flat per diem.
  • Additional Services. It is the law that anytime someone gives you a guaranteed price, they give you an additional services price list. This is a menu of prices for services that could potentially raise the price of your move….after the truck is loaded. If the scope of work changes after the truck is loaded, it is fair to assume the price will go up. For example, if the truck attempts to unload in an area that is inaccessible, for whatever reason, and the mover has to get another smaller truck to “shuttle” your furniture from the big truck to the smaller truck, it is reasonable to think that would cost them more money. It is the law they provide the cost for any additional service, prior to you needing it, in writing.
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  1. Old Comment
    Hi Scott, I read several of your blog entries and posts concerning other moving claim situations as I happen to be in the middle of one with Mayflower.

    I hired a Mayflower agent that was referred to me to pack, load, move, unload etc with full protection valuation. I believe we paid an additional $1,200.00 for the full coverage.

    Our items filled the entire semi so there were no other loads with ours. All was perfect with the process until AFTER delivery and AFTER unloading in which we were handed a piece of paper to sign that everything was received.
    The carrier was very professional and I believe took great care in our items, however, he did not fill out or check off an inventory control sheet upon unloading. I did not know to ask if the process was being handled according to standard guidelines and procedures.
    Upon completion of unloading, he said we need to sign this and I said you didn't check anything off, how are we to know if all of our items were delivered. He said his guys were in the truck and he needed to go. My husband noticed a clause on the form that says our signature does not confirm that EVERYTHING was received.
    Several boxes and things were missing after we started unpacking. We filed a claim, it was denied twice saying there in no proof the carrier lost items. Now they are referring us to free arbitration with AMSA.
    We are still within the 180 days as our move was delivered on June 30th. Do you have any advice as to how the bill of landing relates the carrier possession of items and responsibility? Is the fact that he (carrier) did not follow procedure, which is the only recourse Mayflower or I have to prove or disprove they delivered every single inventoried item, enough to win our claim?
    Posted 10-05-2012 at 09:41 AM by nkodream nkodream is offline
  2. Old Comment
    It states on the letter from Mayflower that 'the carrier must be in a position to substantiate that the reported missing cartons existed at the time of delivery.'

    'There is no documentation supporting any of the items inventoried as part of your shipment was not delivered by Mayflower. The carrier cannot allow for a missing claim that was not documented as missing at the time of delivery.'

    The claim is for $700 or so dollars. Several missing boxes, large picture, lamps, large plant/pottery stand, one entire dressing of clothing is gone?

    Any advice is appreciated.
    Posted 10-05-2012 at 09:49 AM by nkodream nkodream is offline
  3. Old Comment
    Please give me a private message or email me directly at "yourrelocationresource@gmail.com". There are too many questions I have to make a public comment.

    Talk to soon.

    Posted 10-10-2012 at 02:08 PM by Scott Luther Scott Luther is offline

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