Your Moving ‘Rights And Responsibilities’ Explained In Plain English

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If you’re moving across country, or even a state away, your mover is required to provide you with a booklet or link to Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move.

The booklet is 22 pages long, but it’s all fairly simple. Here is a summary in plain English:

  1. It’s your responsibility to read all your paperwork, make sure you or an adult representative is available on moving day, let your mover know if something has changed, pay for the move, and file any damage or loss claims within a reasonable time from the move.
  2. There are two types of estimates: Binding and non-binding. Binding estimates are the guaranteed price, based on the inventory and moving conditions. Non-binding estimates are typically based on weight or cubic feet. Your mover must put their estimate in writing.
  3. If you have a binding estimate, and the scope of the move changes (such as more items, stairs, long carries, parking problems), you have 30 days after delivery to pay the extra money. Otherwise, full payment is due upon delivery.
  4. Federal law requires that movers provide limited liability of $.60 per pound per article. You have the option of opting out, if for example, your homeowner’s insurance covers the move. You can also opt for full coverage insurance, which your mover will offer through a private broker.
  5. If you live within 50 miles of your mover, you are entitled to an on-site estimate, unless you opt out.
  6. You’ll be notified of any price changes before your items are loaded onto the mover’s truck.
  7. All estimates must be filled out in full. If something (such as price) is left blank, ask why, and if your mover refuses to fill it in, fire them.
  8. You can ask about guaranteed pickup and delivery dates, but your mover might not be able to accommodate. Guarantee pickup dates are far more likely than delivery dates.
  9. If your mover charges by weight, you have a right to go to the weigh stations.
  10. You are also entitled to have your shipment re-weighed.
  11. Ask whether you’re working with the mover or a broker. A broker works with several moving companies. Responsibility can get confusing, but the responsibility lies with the people you booked the move with.
  12. Under the Freedom of Information Act, you have the right to see any complaints about movers, although you may have to pay a fee. Go to FMCSA, 49 CFR, Part 7, for a fee schedule.
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