Ready To Move? Tips For Successful Interstate Move
Before you move across the country or to another state, it is important for you to have the necessary information to protect your memories and your move from moving fraud. To help you gather up the right information to do so, and to give you a better defense from becoming a victim, we have listed a few important tips to help you protect yourself.
Know Your Rights!
Before you ever agree to hire a mover for your interstate move, know your rights! All movers are required to provide you with a “Your Rights and Responsibilities” brochure before you work with them. This booklet has everything you need to know about your rights as a consumer and what to do when reporting lost or damaged items. A complete breakdown of the documents you are required to sign is also included within the booklet.
Choose ONLY Registered Movers
By verifying information such as the USDOT number, registration information with the FMCSA, and advanced insurance coverage you can ensure that the mover you are working with is legally allowed to transport items across state borders.
You can verify these numbers by going to the FMCSA site or by calling their phone number at (202)-36-9805. It’s easy, fast, and secure to do so. It is also one of the only ways to protect yourself from fraud.
Read All Information Supplied by the Company
Legitimate movers should require and provide you with the following documents to sign and read through:
- Estimates—The estimate should include all information regarding charges, services, and the estimate for the job. This document should be signed by the mover. Verbal quotes and discussions do not count as legitimate estimates.
- Bill of Lading—The Bill of Lading is the contract between yourself and the mover for your belongings. You should receive a completed bill of lading prior to your moving leaving your residence.
- A Full Inventory List—The Inventory list should include every item that will be shipped. You should have a written and signed document verifying all of your items and that you agree to the description of their condition.
- Order of Service—This document should verify when the move will take place, what items will be picked up for delivery, and what services the mover will complete for you.
What To Do If A Problem Arises
First, you should have received the “Know Your Rights” document, which includes a guideline regarding what to do in situations when a problem occurs, but in general, a good rule of thumb is to dispute the settlement program. The settlement program that movers offer is typically provided before your move. Interstate movers are required by law to provide you with this information. The neutral dispute settlement program is the method through which the company handles any disputes regarding the move or damage to your items. Start by reading through this agreement.
What to Do About Damaged or Missing Items
If the items you now believe are missing or damaged were in good condition before leaving your possession, the next thing you should do is request a company claim form from the mover. You will then need to fill out the document and follow the mover’s instructions on where to mail it. The claim must be filed within 9 months of the delivery of your items, and it is a good idea to send the document through certified mail shipping.
Should you not be satisfied with any settlement offer made by the company, you can then submit your claim through their dispute program and seek legal guidance.
Transportation Changes to Be Aware Of
Because your move will take place across state lines, you can expect some transportations charges to be applied to your moving bill. These should be included and accessed prior to the move by the mover. A published tariff charge should be made available to you when requested. If you believe you have been overcharged, contact the Surface Transportation Board at 1-866-1792 for assistance.
File a Complaint
If you believe there is reason for concern on your part, and you would like to file a complaint regarding the mover, then do keep in mind a few points. First, FMCSA does not exercise direct authority over moving companies and cannot resolve claims on their behalf or yours. You may file a complaint against a mover by contacting 1-888-DOT-SAFT to trigger an investigation and possibly receive a refund for your belongings. It can take some time to receive a refund from your complaint, so do keep this in mind when filing one.
How to Avoid Problems
Essentially, the only way to avoid issues with movers is to plan for your move and understand your rights. So often, we forget that we have the power as consumers to dictate how a move takes place and the results. By staying one-step ahead of the company you hire, you have a better chance of receiving priority service without the hassle of filing a complaint or running into issues down the line.
Stay alert, do your research, and know your rights for a successful interstate move.