Paying the Moving Bill

Time to pay the driver. As the mover presents you with the bill for payment, the representative will give you a freight bill. The bill of lading indicates what services were provided and the charge for each service. Most movers use a copy of the bill of lading as a freight bill. Some use a separate document.

If your shipment was agreed as collect on delivery (COD), you'll be expected to pay the total charges at the time of delivery. An exception is if the total charges exceed 110 percent of a nonbinding estimate. If more, you can pay the excess later, as agreed.

How can you pay? Most movers will accept payment in cash, by certified check, or by money order. Most will not accept a personal check unless arrangements were made earlier to do so. Have the money ready when the movers arrive; you will quickly max out your ATM limit trying to get your stuff out of hock. Some movers will let you pay by credit card. But make sure before you flash your Gold.

What if you don't pay as agreed? The fine print on the bill of lading says the mover can refuse to give you your stuff. Until you work it out, the mover can put it in storage at your expense.

What if, before payment, you find an error in the charges? Try correcting the error with the driver, with the mover's local agent, or by contacting the mover's main office. If you find the error after making payment, write to the mover explaining the error and request a refund.

With most moves, all your stuff will fit in one moving truck or part of a truck. Sometimes, however, shipment size or scheduling will necessitate splitting the shipment among two or more trucks. (This situation is more typical when a car is part of the shipment.)

So how do you receive and pay for a split shipment? You're not required to pay the total charges until all portions of the shipment have been delivered, but the mover can require payment for each portion as it is delivered. Or the mover can choose to not require payment until everything is delivered. So, if you suspect or are notified that your stuff will be in a split shipment, work out payment details now.

So what if something—or everything—gets lost? Not only are you entitled to compensation for whatever was lost, you can also get a refund on the moving charges for lost items. However, you may have to pay for everything on delivery—even if it wasn't delivered—noting on the bill of lading what didn't arrive. You can then file a claim. Most movers will be helpful with this process.

Fortunately, most shipments move on time, in good condition, and at agreed rates. Otherwise, there'd be more lawyers than their already are!

Moving Tips

Be prepared to pay for your shipment as agreed, often upon delivery. If you do not pay as agreed, the shipper can hold your shipment and charge storage.

 
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