Despite your perfect planning, and hiring what you regarded as a reputable moving company, things have not worked out as you had hoped when you moved home. Damage, loss, or scams, unfortunately, do happen. And so, you feel you have no option but to seek justice, therefore you need to know how to file a claim against your moving company.
But before jumping off the deep end, be sure you have a legitimate complaint. Read the terms and conditions of your moving contract and be clear about what part of the contract has been breached. Make sure you stick to any timescales stipulated for lodging a complaint with your moving company, and that you follow the complaints procedure exactly, if they have one.
Why file a complaint against a moving company?
Your bad moving experience could be for any of the following reasons and each could reasonably be classed as a legitimate reason to lodge a complaint against a moving company:
- Moving Company breach of contract.
- Your movers damaged your furniture or property.
- The movers are holding your furniture hostage whilst trying to extract more money from you.
- You believe you are a victim of moving company theft.
- Late delivery.
If you are sure you have a legitimate complaint about your moving company, what do you do? Who do you complain to about a moving company? Luckily there are a number of steps you can take, and authorities that will arbitrate in times of dispute with a moving company, and in summary these are:
- Speak to your moving company
- Complete and post a review for the moving company.
- Register your complaint on movingscam.com.
- Notify the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
- Lodge a complaint with the Department of Transport (DOT).
- Begin the arbitration procedure with the American Moving & Storage Association (AMSA) if your movers are members.
- File a complaint with the Better Business Bureau (BBB).
- Notify Move Rescue for assistance.
- Take the case to the small claims court.
How to file a complaint against movers: Step by Step Guide
These are our top tips on how to complain about a moving company, in easy to follow steps.
- Read your moving contract thoroughly so that you know your rights and have all the information you need to make a successful complaint.
- Get organized. Collate all relevant paperwork, bill of lading, contracts, and evidence together.
- Remain calm. Being angry, abusive, trading personal insults or accusations will not get the situation resolved, so state your complaint calmly.
- Always stick to the facts. Be absolutely sure you have a legitimate complaint, double check every detail of the complaint to ensure your account of the incident is factual, and that you know your rights.
- Be clear and concise about what your complaint is. Refer to the moving company’s terms and conditions if it helps reinforce your complaint.
- Document the sequence of events that led to the complaint. Make a note of all the relevant facts, witnesses, time, date and any other information that you think may help your case.
- Photograph any evidence if it will back up your claims. This is especially useful for claims for damaged items or property.
- Then speak to your movers informing them of the nature of your complaint. Ensure that you keep a note of who you spoke to and when. Give the moving company a chance to resolve the complaint and be reasonable in your expectations of how long it will take to make repairs or investigate your claim. If your complaint is in relation to broken or damaged furniture ensure you complete the moving company damage claim form.
- Always follow up any verbal communication with an email to the movers so that you have documented evidence of times, dates, what was said and by whom, and the outcome of that conversation. Ensure you proofread any emails before sending them.
- Inform the moving company politely that you will be posting an online review on a reputable moving company review website. This in itself should be enough to galvanize them into action as no moving company likes bad publicity as it adversely affects their business. Not only that but you will be warning other home movers of your bad experience. Remember that you are legally responsible for what you post online, so be truthful and factual.
- File a moving fraud complaint with the website movingscam.com. There is also excellent advice there on what to do if you have been scammed by a moving company, for example, if your goods were held to ransom before you paid an extortionate amount of money to retrieve them.
- Begin the complaints procedure with the FMCSA. You can call them directly on 1-888-DOT-SAFT (1-888-368-7238) between the hours of 8:00 am and 8:00 pm Monday to Friday, Eastern Time. Additionally, there is an online Department of Transportation complaint register service which guides you through their complaint procedure in an easy format. You may also find the Protect Your Move DOT GOV program useful, which has a website that allows you to browse the complaint history and safety record of movers and offers advice on complaining about moving companies. The FMCSA will investigate complaints of:
- A violation of contract.
- Deceptive business practices.
- Operating a moving company without insurance or under invalid licensing.
- Raise your issue with the DOT Office of Inspector General. Call them on 1-800-424-9071. () Examples of the type of complaints that the DOT will investigate include:
- Making, altering, copying, publishing, or negotiating a fraudulent bill of lading.
- Deliberately providing a “low-ball” estimate to lure customers and then withholding or threatening to withhold the customers’ household goods unless they pay significantly more than the quoted price.
- Knowingly assigning a fraudulent weight or volume to a shipment (“weight bumping”).
- Obtaining money or property on false or fraudulent pretenses (inflating or falsifying the amount of packing materials or other supplies provided for the move);
- Make the AMSA aware of your complaint if your movers are members of this association, which you can find out by calling the AMSA at 703-683-7410, or by sending them an email to [email protected] If your moving company is an AMSA member, then they have agreed to participate in the AMSA Arbitration Program for complaints arising from property damage or billing disputes.
- File a complaint with the BBB, even if your movers are not members. They offer an arbitration service to consumers that have cause to complain about a movers services.
- Call Move Rescue on 800-832-1773 if your items are being held hostage. Move Rescue is an industry endorsed consumer assistance service and they have extensive experience of dealing with rogue movers.
- As a last resort you can take your movers to the small claims court, but always seek legal advice before taking this route. Each state has different dollar limits that apply for a small claims court case and this link here will show you the dollar limit within each state.
If your movers do satisfactorily resolve your complaint please, remember to update your review to reflect that. It is only fair to the moving company, and to other home movers, to report that the company took all the necessary actions to resolve your complaint. Often, the quality of any company is measurable not in whether there was a problem with their service, but what they did to resolve it.
There are bad moving companies out there, so be careful and research your movers thoroughly before signing anything. That said, the majority of movers are honest and trustworthy, but it is good to know that there are actions you can take, and help available from the authorities, to take recourse against a moving company if you need to.
See also: How to compare moving companies