Moving homes can be an incredibly stressful experiences for many people. Finding the right moving company can help reduce this stress. Consider the following when looking for your next moving company:
  • Internet Research: Do your research on the internet to identify companies in your area that specialize in your type of move. Do not rely just on the customer ratings on the company’s website. Also consider whether they are listed with a quality rating on the Better Business Bureau and have a valid registration number with the Department of Transportation.
  • Recommendations: As with any service, it is best to get a recommendation from someone you know who previously has used the company. Many real estate agents also work with movers so you can consult with your realtor to help you identify a good mover.
  • Estimates: While it is impossible for a moving company to give you completely accurate costs without seeing your belongings, experienced companies will be able to give you the best estimate. Always request estimates from different companies before deciding. You will probably find that the estimates are relatively close in range so be wary of the moving company that promises to charge considerably less than what seems to be the standard in your area. Additionally, look at companies that have their own trucks because those companies’ costs are likely to be lower than those that have to rent trucks.
  • Agreement of Services: Review the moving contract carefully before signing it. A good moving company will readily entertain any questions you have about the contract. At a minimum, the contract should cover what your responsibilities are as the client, whether the company will subcontract the work and what the mover’s responsibilities are if they damage your property.
  • Moving Company Insurance Policies: Moving companies have limited liability and recovery may further be limited by the type of insurance the moving company carries. Consider whether you want to purchase additional insurance for your move if you have particularly expensive belongings.

Where Can I Get Additional Information on Suing My Moving Company?

You also can get additional tips from the website of the  Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Among other things, the FMCSA  works with different agencies to reduce motor carrier related accidents. Familiarizing yourself with this website can help you understand motor carrier issues more.

What Should I Do If My Belongings Have Been Damaged by the Mover?

Contact the moving company directly to work with them. Be prepared to provide documentation or the specific facts that demonstrate that the property was lost, damaged or destroyed through no fault of your own. Also note that some states may not hold a moving company liable for property they did not pack themselves.

What Should I Do If The Moving Company Refuses to Deliver My Property?

A common moving company problem occurs when the customer’s belongings are already loaded on the mover’s truck and have been delivered to the customer’s new home. Once there, the mover explains to the customer that the customer had more belongings than had been anticipated or that their items weigh more than had been quoted. They then tell the customer that they will need to pay an additional charge, which is usually quite substantial, in order to get their belongings off the truck. Not surprisingly, many customers will pay the additional charge to get their belongings back. This tactic is illegal and may give rise to a claim for extortion in most states. If successful in court, the customer may be able to recover damages from the mover. If you are unable to resolve the dispute with the moving company, you also can file a complaint with the FMCSA, which may lead to a federal investigation against the mover.

Are There Other Actions Can I Take to Recover from a Negligent Moving Company?

Find out from the homeowner insurance carrier for your old resident and your new resident whether your damaged possessions are covered. Also, review your contract with the moving company to identify any dispute resolution options that may be available. As well, check before you sign the invoice whether it contains a waiver of the option to purchase additional insurance. If you sign the waiver, it essentially limits you to the insurance the carrier has.   Additionally, though moving companies are regulated by federal law, you may consider filing a complaint in small claims court or a claim for violation of state or federal law, such as the Carmack Amendment if your move was across state lines. Unfortunately, the Carmack Amendment does limit the liability of the moving company to actual damages. It can also preempt state law claims such as those sounding in negligence, for breach of contract, fraud, and misrepresentation.

Should I Hire an Attorney If I Will Be Suing a Moving Company?

Your move is stressful enough without having to deal with a moving company that has damaged your property or is holding your belongings hostage. If you cannot resolve your dispute with the company, you may consider consulting with an attorney to learn about your options for recovering from the moving company.