Tips for Handling Moving Company Disputes

After dealing with the stressful affair of moving across the country, as well as the time it takes to unpack all of your things, the last thing you want to do is receive a bill from your moving company and realize that it is for thousands of dollars more than you expected. You also don’t want to find out that some of your valuable possessions were damaged or lost in the move. However, both these situations are much more common than you’d think. If either happens to you or another issue with your moving company, it is critical that you know how to handle it. You have many options that are available to you if you choose to dispute a bill from your moving company or claim that your possessions were lost or damaged. Nevertheless, be aware that movers have the right to hold your items while you dispute your bill. Let’s take a look at the options you have to handle a moving company dispute.

Ask About Company’s Dispute Settlement Program

If you are moving across state lines, before the moving company touches your household goods they are required to give you information in regards to their particular dispute resolution program. Movers must give you info on a neutral dispute settlement program in case that your household goods are damaged or lost or if you believe you were charged too much.

What to Do for Damaged or Lost Goods

If your home goods become damaged or lost during the delivery process, it is recommended that you request a claim form from the moving company. Fill out this claim form as best as you can. The company will inform you of where you need to mail in the form. It is usually required that you file a written claim within nine months of the service. Additionally, your claim must be handwritten, but it is not necessary that it be submitted on the moving company’s claim form. It is best that you send your claims information to the moving company through certified mail. If the settlement offer made by the company is not to your satisfaction, then you have the option to turn in a loss and damage claim through the dispute settlement program or proceed to look into more serious legal remedies.

If You Believe You Have Been Overcharged

The movers will appraise your move-in cost and will inform you of the charges for its services before you sign any paperwork. These charges must also be published in a tariff, which is made available to you if you request it. If you believe that your moving company overcharged you, then it is recommended that you contact the Surface Transportation Board to seek further assistance.

If You Used a Credit Card and Were Overcharged

If you paid your moving service using a credit card and were overcharged or unrightfully charged for a service you did not use, then you can dispute the charge that was put on your credit card with the credit card company. If the company agrees with your argument, they will debit your account for the amount and will leave it up to the moving company to sue for what they are believed they are owed.

File a Lawsuit as a Last Resort

You should first see if the moving company will file an arbitration, which is a type of out-of-court dispute resolution. This is easier and less expensive than a lawsuit for both parties involved. Your moving contract may have an arbitration written in its language if your moving company is part of the American Moving and Storage Association as it is a right provided under the Carmack Amendment for moves across states. It is highly recommended that you look into the AMSA’s programs for dispute before filing a lawsuit. If you decide to proceed with legal counsel, then keep in mind that court filing fees and lawyers can be extremely pricey and so could negate the amount that is awarded to you. Due to this, it is best that you seek consequential damages, and attorney’s fees as well so that filing suit is worth the time and expense. Talk to a lawyer to find out if this is the right choice for your situation.

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