If you don't do the proper research and evaluate the moving company you hire, you end up doing business with rogue movers. If it has come to the point where you need to know how to file a complaint against a moving company, there are many ways to go about it. You may feel discouraged and overwhelmed with filling out forms and describing your complaint, but you are helping many other future potential victims of the moving company.
Before filing your complaint, it's important to thoroughly look through your shipment and double-check which belongings are missing or damaged. If you have written proof of the condition and quantity of your items before your shipment, then the process will be easier. Necessary documents and paperwork should be on hand for the claim to be handled in a timely manner. Any delay will further draw the process out.
Common moving company complaints
- My shipment was late: Note what date is written on your bill of lading. Your moving company must deliver your goods by this "reasonable dispatch" date, or you may be eligible for compensation. This includes but is not limited to: hotel stays, meals and transportation.
- My belongings are lost/damaged: Unfortunately, there can be a high risk of damaged goods when you place your belongings in someone else's hands. Your furniture and household items go through a lot of lugging and travel before they reach your final destination. If you notice anything that is damaged once the movers deliver, do not sign the bill of lading. If you do, filing a complaint may become problematic.
- I was overcharged for my delivery: We always suggest that you get at least three estimates when you are scouting out moving companies. Sometimes, movers may try to scam you by offering an extremely low estimate while later demanding an amount much higher than the original price. The mover even holds your belongings hostage in the truck, forcing you to pay this obscene amount. Be aware of the types of estimates moving companies have and file a complaint if you feel you were overcharged.
Note: Common extra charges include extra stairs the moving crew had to climb, long carries, hoisting of furniture and goods that weren't accounted for in the original estimate and shuttle service if there is a lack of parking near your destination.
Before you file a complaint against the moving company
- Gather all paperwork relevant to your specific case -- contracts, inventories and receipts
- Review your contract with the moving company to evaluate all rights and conditions
- Act in a rational manner, meaning don't lash out to avoid escalating the issue any further
- Only act on facts so it will be taken serious by the moving company or the mediator
- Have legitimate evidence to support your claim -- like photographs before your move and after the goods
- Communicate effectively
Throughout the process, keep note of all parties you speak too. Before escalating the issue, work with the moving company to resolve your claim. In the event you believe this is fraud, movingscam.com is a great tool to use if your belongings were lost or are being held at ransom.
Filing a claim against the moving company
It's best to work towards a peaceful resolution with your moving company. A lot of time and money can be saved if you and the movers involved can work things out without a third party involved.
When filing a complaint against the moving company, it's best to be calm, rational and objective. Becoming unruly will only make the situation worse. If you believe this to be a rogue mover, then contacting an external party will suit you best. When working with an accredited mover, your claim process should be taken care of in a timely manner.
- American Moving & Storage Association (AMSA): AMSA holds integrity as a top priority when dealing with complaints. You begin the process on their website. If your moving company is an AMSA member, then they've agreed to partake in the AMSA Arbitration Program for complaints against property damage or billing disputes. If you have a complaint having to do with damaged or lost goods or overcharging, you must fill out a Request for Arbitration form within the Household Goods Settlement Program. AMSA will contact the moving company for you regarding your claim but has no intervening legal authority.
- Better Business Bureau (BBB): If the moving company is accredited with the BBB, then filing a claim with them will be better. The BBB ensures moving companies follow strict guidelines and regulations in the way they operate. The BBB works with customers to resolve issues with a moving company and holds the companies accountable for their actions. Visit the BBB website to file a complaint. Within two days, BBB will contact your moving company about your pending claim, at which time the company will have 14 days to reply.
- Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA): Government organizations such as FMCSA act to regulate the movers and shipping industry. FMCSA deals with the safety and management of moving and relocation companies. They also ensure that the company operates within the proper standards set for moving companies. You can file a complaint online or call them toll-free at (888) 368-7238.
A government representative will help you with filing your claim. Here's the information you will need to provide when filling out the form:
- Your name, address and telephone number
- The name, address and telephone number of your moving company
- Bill of lading mumber
- Origin and destination of your shipment
- Mover's DOT number and MC number
- Specific violations you are claiming
Taking the case to a court of law if all else fails
This would be your last and final option if everything else has fallen through -- or if a rogue move has taken serious advantage of you. If the result from the claim was not what you were expecting or the situation with the mover reached a place of no return, contact your local clerk's office for court forms to follow through with the lawsuit.