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Large increase charge to binding estimate the day of pickup

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Asked by George

September 3, 2015 under Others

I received a Binding Estimate from Pack and Go Movers (NJ). On pickup day. They increased the price from $5242.29 to $8,500. I had no choice but to pay as I had to move that day. They also brought a smaller truck because they said the bigger truck could not navigate the streets in my neighborhood. I had to leave 2 patio sets and 2 lounge chairs which were on the contract. I feel I was robbed. Do I have a claim against them as it was a binding estimate I originally received?

Answered by Nicole La Capria

September 4, 2015

Hello, and thank you for visiting!

I'm sorry to hear about your unpleasant moving experience. Generally, a binding estimate cannot be changed on the day of moving, with just a few exceptions. If you did not increase the volume of your shipment or request any additional services besides what was included in your contract, your movers are not permitted to raise your cost on the final bill.

The rules of binding estimates as regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) are:

  • Rule #1: The moving company is required to accurately describe the shipment and any moving services that are being provided by them during the course of the move. The company cannot tack on additional charges as the move progresses without informing the customer. The customer will only be required to pay the amount of the binding estimate at the time of delivery, and any additional services incurred during the move will be billed separately after the move by the company.

  • Rule #2: The moving company must provide the estimate to the customer in writing and a copy of the estimate must be made available to the customer prior to the move, to give the customer time to review it and discuss any possible discrepancies in the estimate.

  • Rule #3: The moving company must state in the estimate that it is binding between the customer and the mover. The mover must attach a copy of the binding estimate to the bill of lading. Furthermore, the mover must also state that the estimate is for the services listed only.

  • Rule #4: Once the move begins, if the mover notices any additional items in your shipment, or if you request any additional services (such as packing) that are not included in the original estimate, the mover has the right to refuse service or create a revised binding estimate with the new items or services added to the bill, increasing the final price.

If your mover did not follow any of these rules, you can file a claim with the Better Business Bureau, the FMCSA, or the AMSA on their respective websites. All of these agencies can intervene on your behalf and attempt to bring about a resolution between you and the moving company. However, they cannot legally mandate the mover to comply. If filing a claim does not bring about a resolution you are satisfied with, you may have to bring the company to small claims court.

I hope this answer is helpful to you and that you are able to resolve your problem.

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