Everyone has heard about them. Hopefully, not everyone has experienced one, but the reality is – bad moves happen. They happen so often that there are even websites solely dedicated to the concept. Sadly, they also come with their own set of dissatisfied customers.
The truth about the moving industry is that it is largely unregulated. The few regulations that do exist are old – very old. For example, in many states, unless you buy additional coverage, the dollar value assigned to your possessions is by weight – and it’s very low. It’s typically anywhere from $.30 to $.60 per pound per article. In other words, if a light-weight, high-tech TV is broken, it’s actually worth less money than the big 90s behemoth TV that you haven’t gotten around to disposing of. The best way to handle a bad move is to avoid it altogether, but even the best moving companies screw up on occasion. The true test of the quality of a moving company is what happens when the screw up is brought to their attention. Fortunately, there is a lot you can do to help bring the situation to a satisfactory resolution.
1. Make sure your move is insured – The truth about the moving industry is that it is largely unregulated. The few regulations that do exist are old – very old. For example, in most states, unless you buy additional coverage, the dollar value assigned to your possessions is by weight – and it’s very low. It’s typically anywhere from $.30 to $.60 per pound per article. In other words, your high-tech, super light-weight LED TV is actually worth less money than the big 90s behemoth TV that you haven’t gotten around to disposing of. Even then, a 100 pound TV would only be worth $60.00 – maximum.
Talk to your mover and your home owner’s insurance company about options.
2. Take pictures and catalog your expensive items along with any damages – If there are scratches on your furniture, take those pictures too. A moving company is far more likely to take you seriously if they know you’re not trying to screw them by blaming them for old damages.
3. Stay calm – Under the best of circumstances, moving is very stressful. Add to that the horror stories many have heard (nightmare moves make much better dinner party conversations than good ones), it’s easy to see why a moving customer would get upset at the first sign of trouble.
The reality is, if you’ve done your homework, you probably have not chosen one of the nightmarish moving companies. You have probably chosen a company that is in it for the long-haul (no pun intended), not the quick buck. It is in their best interest to make you happy and they know it. If you contact them threatening to sue right off the bat, they might see you as a hopeless cause. However, if you call them asking for a resolution, they will most likely accommodate.
4. Know what you want and don’t be greedy – It’s not at all unreasonable for you to ask for damages to be fixes, monetary losses to be covered and maybe a bit extra. It probably is unreasonable for you to ask for a free move on top of all that. Keep in mind, that most movers don’t have to even cover your monetary losses, but many will out of good will.
5. Complain – Some customers see dealing with the moving company as hopeless. It’s not unusual for a company to see a negative Yelp review as the first sign a customer was dissatisfied. Of course, the first course of resolution should always be to contact the company, but when you have done that and no resolution has been found, there are channels.
Warning other Yelp or Angie’s List users is certainly one way to make your bad experience known, but neither of those sites have any authority. If you believe laws have been broken, you should contact your state Public Utilities Commission (California) or Department of Transportation. If you moved out of state, you can file a complaint with the feds.