What is a Bill of Lading?

The Bill of lading is the most important document in the shipping process. It acts as a contract between you and the mover for the transportation of your shipment. The information in the bill of lading is of great importance as it defines the rules under which the whole move will happen, including payment information.

The transportation could be on a prepaid or collect-on-delivery basis. If the shipment is “collect on delivery”, this means that the driver will collect payment at the time of delivery.

If your shipment takes place under a non-binding estimate, the bill of lading will not include a final calculation of charges, as it cannot be determined until your shipment is weighed.

By Federal Law, your Bill of Lading must include these 14 elements:

  • Your mover’s name and address, or the name and the address of the mover issuing the bill of lading.
  • The names and the addresses of any other mover (or subcontractor), when known, who will take part in the transportation of your shipment.
  • The name, address and telephone number of the office where you can contact your mover for matters relating to the transportation of your shipment.
  • The method of payment which your mover will accept upon delivery. Mind that the payment details must be the same as entered on the estimate.
  • Your name, address and telephone number in case your shipment is transported under a collect-on-delivery (also cash on delivery) basis, so the mover can inform you about the charges.
  • For “non-guaranteed” service, your mover must state the agreed period of time within which the move will happen. (The mover is not obliged to follow certain delivery deadline).
  • For “guaranteed” service, the mover must state the exact pickup and delivery dates of the move and the due compensation in case of delays.
  • The actual date of the pickup.
  • The ID(s) of the vehicle(s) in which the mover loads your household items.
  • The terms and the conditions for payment of final charges including notice of any minimum charges and fees.
  • The maximum amount your mover will demand from you upon delivery in order to release your shipment when it is transported under a collect-on-delivery basis.
  • Proof of insurance sold to you or procured from an independent insurer, including the price of the insurance.
  • The binding or non-binding estimate, the order of service and the inventory are integral part of your bill of lading. Each one of them must be added as an attachment.
  • The Full Value Protection and the Released Value Protection plans.

Do not lose or misplace your copy of the bill of lading.

Mind that it is your responsibility to read it before you accept it. Ask your mover for the paperwork at least a couple of days prior to your move, so you don’t feel pressed to sign it. On moving day, movers won’t start work until you sign your bill of lading.

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