The process of moving house is notorious for being a bit chaotic, and despite your desperate measures to run everything smoothly and keep it under control, unpleasant surprises tend to sneak in uninvited even after the moving day is over. When your household items are delivered to your new home, you may be unfortunate enough to find out that some of your items were damaged during transportation. As if all the pressure and worries and anxiety around the relocation were not enough!
It’s a fact that no one is insured against having a bad day and that includes reputable movers as well. If your movers have accidentally broken something of yours during the move, the sensible thing to do is to remain calm (you won’t score any bonus points if you get angry at them or go on to the offensive) and follow the proper steps of filing a claim with your moving company in order to receive fair compensation for the respective damage.
Inspect items for damage
The very first thing you should do when your household items are delivered to your new residence is to inspect them carefully for any signs of damage. Of course, there will be plenty of pressing post-move tasks for you to handle but this inspection is something that you have to do before it’s too late. Take a closer look at all your furniture pieces – wooden ones for any scrapes or dents, soft ones for rips in the fabric. Pay special attention to the condition of your boxes containing fragile items (glassware, china, electronic components, etc.).
Besides having your belongings accidentally damaged, property damage, caused while the movers were carrying your stuff inside the house, can also be problematic. Make sure you examine all your doors and door frames, walls, wall corners and hardwood floors just to be sure everything is alright.
Use photos as evidence
It’s a great idea to have taken photos of your household items before Moving day – photos that can prove indisputably that your goods were in good and undamaged condition before they were transferred into your movers’ hands. But photographing your delivered items is even more important – as soon as you notice that one or more of your possessions have been damaged, take out your camera and document the damage in question. A little trick to confirm the authenticity of your photos beyond any doubt is to include a date stamp on each one or to catch today’s newspaper into the frame if your camera is not equipped with such an automatic date imprinting function.
File a claim with your moving company
The moment you have discovered that your movers broke something, take a photo of the damage and note down the latter on your copy of the Bill of Lading. If you purchased proper moving insurance from a third party, then contact that insurance company and ask for more information on how to file a damage claim. If you bought moving insurance through your company or did not purchase one at all, then contact your movers. Explain to the agent who was responsible for your move what happened and request the necessary paperwork to file a claim. Reputable movers will work with you to resolve the issue quickly and peacefully. You must keep the damaged items as they are until the company sends a representative of theirs to your house to review the broken items personally. If the broken item is vital for the normal functioning of your everyday life, your mover should temporarily replace it until the claim process is over.
Escalate the dispute
If you fail to reach a satisfactory solution to the problem with your movers, you have the option to escalate the dispute in accordance with the severity and extent of the damage to your belongings or property.
Option 1: Leave a moving review
Writing a moving review and rating the services of your moving company is easy and takes no more than a few minutes of your time. Moving reviews can sometimes play the role of dispute solvers and the honest and objective narration of how your movers mishandled and mistreated your household items may prompt the moving company to contact you and offer you a revision of the damage claim. Keep in mind that negative online reputation can rarely serve a moving company any good.
Option 2: File a formal complaint
If your movers are not willing to resolve the issue peacefully, as they should, then you may choose to report them by filing a formal complaint with the Department of Transportation (find the complaint form here), the American Moving and Storage Association (find the arbitration form here) and the Better Business Bureau (find their complaint section here). You should be contacted soon by the relevant organizations for further details.
Hopefully, your movers will be willing to arbitrate the unfortunate occurrence quickly and without any unnecessary hassle.