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Consumer's Rights when Moving

Duncan Johnson, Legal Specialist, Moving Staff

Moving is a huge undertaking, and can be very stressful. You have to remember that you are entrusting everything you own to the moving company that you choose, so you should be aware of the rights that you have as a consumer purchasing moving services. There are many different rights that you have as a consumer, and knowing them will make sure that the company you hire is honest and professional at all times.

Where to Learn about your Rights

By federal law, each moving company must provide the consumer with a printout of their rights and responsibilities. When you contact a moving company, this is the first thing that you should receive. It is important to read this printout, as it will explain the details of what you and the moving company are required to do. You can also find out about your rights by going online to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Website.

Your Basic Rights

While there are many different rights that you have when you hire a moving company, there are a few basic ones that you should be aware of at all times.

  • Estimates: Movers are required to give written estimates, but they are not required to give binding estimates. Getting a binding estimate is between you and the moving company.
  • Binding Estimates: Movers are not permitted to charge consumers more than the amount of an agreed upon binding estimate. They may, however, charge a fee for the creation of a binding estimate.
  • Non-Binding Estimates: Moving companies may not charge consumers for non-binding estimates. Remember that these estimates are not contracts, however.
  • Weight: You have the right to be present each time that your shipment is weighed, and you can also request that the shipment be reweighed.
  • Payment: If the final charges exceed 110% of the written estimate, you are required to make payment in full within thirty days. If these charges do not exceed this amount, the mover may request payment on delivery of your goods.

Other Important Information

The FMCSA recommends that each consumer seeking the services of a moving company request at least three different estimates. When doing so, you should not disclose information regarding competitors to different companies. This disclosure may affect how accurate the quote you receive is.

Remember that you have the right to choose a company on your own without feeling pressured by anyone. While these companies will be quick to sell you on their level of services, do not feel as if you have to choose one over the other because of any other reason than you choose to.

Brokers and Agents

Quite often a broker or agent will be acting on behalf of a moving company. It is vital that you realize your rights when dealing with a broker. A broker does not work for the actual company and does not own trucks. They can give you an estimate, but the actual moving company may or may not agree to that estimate.

When requesting an estimate from a broker, you should verify in writing that the moving company will accept the estimate as well. You can do this by presenting the estimate to a representative of the actual company and getting it signed by them. This is to protect you and keep the cost of your move to a minimum.

Protecting Your Rights

The best way to protect your rights is to know what they are. The FMCSA requires that all moving companies have a policy concerning complaints and other problems. You can also file complaints with the FMCSA itself or the better business bureau. If all else fails, many cases and disputes can be taken to small claims court.

In the end it all depends on information. Here at, we provide you with comprehensive moving guides so that you don't have to search for information. Instead, we bring the information to you. Knowledge is power, and now that you know about the various aspects of your move, why not request some free moving quotes today?

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