Answered by Nicole La CapriaApril 17, 2013
Having a bad moving experience can be especially frustrating. Moving is a stressful enough process when everything goes smoothly and according to plan. Being without your belongings can leave you feeling angry and helpless, not to mention terribly inconvenienced.
The late delivery of goods is a common complaint made against moving companies. Movers are required to drop off your shipment of household goods at your new home within the window indicated on your Bill of Lading. This is called "reasonable dispatch." If your goods are delivered past this date, you may be entitled to compensation for expenses incurred while you were without your possessions, such as hotel stays, restaurant meals, etc. Keep all receipts for expenses and file an inconvenience claim with your movers.
Filing a Claim
You must file a written claim within nine months of your shipment's delivery. Many companies have a claims form you can fill out on their website. The FMCSA requires movers to respond to your written claim within 30 days, even if it's just to acknowledge receipt of the claim. They have 120 days to resolve the issue or deny your claim. If you are not satisfied with their offer or settlement, there are other options open to you:
- File a claim with the FMCSA. While this agency does not have the authority to legally intervene on your behalf, your complaint will be entered into a database, used for statistical purposes and included on the company's public record. It could also prompt an investigation against the mover.
- File a complaint with the Better Business Bureau. File a complaint with the BBB by visiting their website and submitting an online claim form. The organization will contact the movers with your claim within two days, and they will be expected to respond within 14 days. If not, a second request is sent. However, the BBB cannot obligate the moving company to compensate you. They can only act as a third-party mediator to facilitate cooperation from the movers concerning your complaint.
- File a complaint with the American Moving and Storage Association.
You can also file a complaint with AMSA on their website. From there, they will contact the company on your behalf and attempt to bring the matter to a resolution. However, AMSA has no legal authority and cannot mandate the moving company to comply.
If your shipment never arrives because the movers have held it for ransom until you fork up thousands of dollars more than you were originally quoted, you may be the victim of a moving scam by a rogue mover. If all else fails, you can take them to small claims court, but beware--movers can be very difficult to sue and your legal fees may wind up costing you more than it is worth.
In the future, be sure to know the signs of an irreputable mover, and please let other potential customers know about your experience by writing a moving review.