So, as a movee, what rights do you have? Should your move result in the loss or damage to any of your property, you have the right to file a claim with the mover to recover money for the loss or damage.

Moving Words

claim is your statement of loss or damage to any part of your shipment.

But what if you don’t discover the problem for a few weeks after the move? You have nine months from the delivery date to file a claim with the mover. However, you should file a claim as soon as possible. The mover must acknowledge receiving your claim within 30 days, and the company must make an offer or deny your claim within 120 days.

If any of your household goods are damaged or lost, note it on the driver’s copy of the inventory sheet before signing it. If you find damage while unpacking, file a claim as soon as possible, but within nine months of delivery. The mover must respond to your claim within 30 days and offer a resolution within 120 days of the claim.

The Surface Transportation Board (previously known as the Interstate Commerce Commission) sets the rules for movers and other trucking services, but it doesn’t resolve claims. If you cannot settle a claim with the mover, the next step is to file a civil action to recover in court. You’ll probably need an attorney.

Any other options? Yes. Most major movers participate in a dispute resolution program. That means you can have a neutral arbitrator review the claims of both you and the mover, and then offer a resolution. For most disputes, this is the best step after trying to work directly with the mover.

We’ll look at arbitration in a moment.

To avoid problems in the first place, remember these facts of Smart Moving:

  • Movers may give binding estimates.
  • Non-binding estimates may not be accurate; actual charges may often exceed the estimate.
  • Specify pickup and delivery dates in the order for service.
  • The bill of lading is your contact with the mover. Read it carefully. If you have any questions ask your mover or call the ICC.
  • Be sure that you understand the extent of your mover’s liability for loss and damage.
  • You have the right to be present each time your shipment is weighed.
  • You may request a reweigh of your shipment.
  • If you have moved on a non-binding estimate, you should have enough cash or a certified check to pay the estimated cost of your move plus ten percent more at time of delivery.