Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move

Choosing your Mover - You will have many choices of household goods movers. Since the prices and services offered vary from mover to mover, you may want to shop around before hiring a mover. You may want to contact sources such as the Better Business Bureau for information.
Proposal for Moving Services - Prior to loading, your mover must provide a written proposal. The proposal must provide the maximum amount you will be required to pay at the delivery. The proposal must be one of two types: binding or not-to-exceed. A binding proposal states the exact price of the move. A not-to exceed proposal states the maximum price of the move, but allows the mover to charge less than maximum. Informing your mover of all items to be moved and services you expect the mover to provide will assist the mover in making the proposal. If possible, you should find out exactly what services you will need the mover to perform at your destination. Services at the destination may include “stair carries”, “long carries”, and “elevator” use. Due to the additional labor required to provide these services, additional fees may be charged by your mover. Informing the mover before the move of all items to be moved and services to be provided will help avoid misunderstandings and help prevent the need to amend the proposal.
Pickup and Delivery Dates - In scheduling your move, consider the dates and times for pickup and delivery. Advise your mover of any deadlines that you might have with regard to pickup and delivery. To ensure that there is no confusion, note these deadlines either on your written proposal or moving services contract. If you are not available at the agreed times, the pickup and delivery may be delayed, and you may be charged additional fees.
Inventory - Your mover may offer to prepare a descriptive inventory of the shipment. The inventory will list your goods and note their condition. The mover may charge a fee for this service only if you agree to the preparation of the inventory. The mover will ask you to sign the inventory after loading and possibly after unloading. As with any shipping document, you should review it for accuracy when your shipment is picked up and delivered. Important: Since inventories are often used during the claim process, inspect your shipment carefully. Make sure all boxes and items are accounted for at delivery. If there is obvious loss or damage, note this on the inventory at delivery.
Moving Services Contract - Your mover will prepare a moving services contract. The moving services contract may be in the form of a bill of lading, work ticket, or other receipt. This contract lists important information about your move, including your name, the mover’s name, and the mover’s limitation of liability for loss or damage to your goods. The agreements on your written proposal provided by your mover become part of your contract. Be sure all Agreements between you and your mover, including services to be provided at the destination, are written on the moving services contract. Do not rely on any verbal agreements. Make sure all documents offered by the mover for your signature are filled out as much as possible before you sign. READ THE DOCUMENTS BEFORE YOU SIGN YOUR NAME.
Mover’s Liability - Your mover has a basic liability of 60 cents per pound per article. This means if your 50 pound television is damaged, your mover is liable for a maximum of only $30. Although your mover cannot reduce his liability below 60 cents per pound per article, he may agree in writing to assume a higher level of liability. Your shipment will be valued at 60 cents per pound per article unless you and your mover agree to a higher level of liability on your moving services contract. Your mover may assess additional fees (sometimes referred to as a valuation fee) for assuming the higher level of liability. Noting a higher level of mover liability (valuation) is not the same as purchasing transit insurance.
Payment of Charges - You should be prepared to pay the maximum amount of money shown on the written proposal provided by your mover. The proposal must explain when you will be required to pay your mover and what forms of payment are accepted, such as personal checks or credit cards. Remember that the last amended contract or written proposal lists the total price that you may be required to pay at delivery.
Claims - If you have a dispute about the charges or loss/damage to your goods, you should first file a written claim with your mover. Include in your claim the specific amount of money or other solution you are seeking. List enough information for the mover to investigate your claim. Provide your mover with any shipping documents and other information requested. You must ensure that your mover or his agent receives your claim within 90 days of delivery of the shipment. If your mover does not receive the claim on time, your claim could be denied. If your claim involves damaged goods, you should preserve the containers and any damaged goods so your mover may inspect them.
Mover’s Response to a Claim - Your mover must contact you within 20 days (excluding Sundays and holidays) of receipt of your written claim. Your mover has a right to inspect containers or damaged goods within 30 days of receiving your claim. Your mover must pay or deny your claim, or make a firm settlement offer, within 90 days of receiving your claim. If there are continuing problems, please contact your state's household goods mover D.O.T.