Q: How can I select a reputable mover?
A: A personal recommendation is the best way to start. Whether you use a company recommended by friends or choose a company through its advertising, be sure that any company you contact has an up-to-date KYTC operating certificate number.
This is important because, in order to obtain authority to operate in Kentucky, moving companies must be licensed by the KYTC. They are subject to State laws and the Cabinets rules and regulations, designed to protect the consumer. For example, movers licensed by the KYTC are required to carry a minimum amount of cargo insurance. However, your ability to recover for loss or damage is dependent upon your agreement with the mover. All movers are also required to file a Tariff containing the rates charged for various moving services. The Tariff is filed with the KYTC’s Division of Motor Carriers and is available to the public.
Q: How Important Is Obtaining An Estimate?
A: A written estimate where a company representative comes to your home is one of your best safeguards against overcharges and other potential issues. Verbal estimates over the phone or email are not very good estimates.
To obtain a reasonably accurate estimate, you must show the estimator everything you intend to ship. An estimate is not a bid or a contract and choosing the mover submitting the lowest estimate will not assure you of the lowest cost move. Regardless of any estimate provided, the final amount you must pay for your move is determined by the hourly rate or actual weight of your household goods, the amount of packing completed and any other additional services performed by the mover. This information is contained in the carrier’s tariff.
Be sure to ask about all additional costs when you are given an estimate for your move. For example, moves based on hourly rates will be assessed a travel time charge in addition to the actual time it takes to complete your move. Travel time charges are calculated on the distance between the original point of loading and final point of unloading. Mileage is determined in accordance with approved mileage guides or vehicle odometer readings. For moves based on the weight of the shipment, the mover will not charge additionally for travel time.
A: Moving companies must file their rates with the KYTC and may not charge more or less than the rates on file.
You can request a copy of the mover’s rates on file with the KYTC. Also inquire as to how the rates will be applied to the specific circumstances of your move. Ask if there are any other charges and how or why the final cost might differ from the estimate.
Q: Who Packs For The Move?
A: That depends. Frequently, the customer packs all the household items in cartons and the mover takes care of protecting the furniture. When packing, use enough filler to reduce the chance of breakage. If you pack the cartons carefully and there is damage, the adjustor will consider the packing method as a determining factor in liability.
If you wish to have the mover pack all your household items, the mover will be more expensive but will be professionally completed. However, the mover may bear additional liability by providing this service.
Q: Must I Sign The Bill Of Lading/Contract?
A: Yes. The bill of lading is the contract between you and your mover. The mover is required by law to prepare a bill of lading for every shipment it transports. The information on a bill of lading is required to be the same information shown on the order for service. The driver who loads your shipment must give you a copy of the bill of lading before loading your furniture.
Be sure the bill of lading includes the movers’ name, address, license number, and telephone number where you can reach them. It should also indicate an address and telephone number, provided by you, where the mover can communicate information regarding your shipment. The bill of lading should also include the loading and delivery dates, storage instructions, if any, and the declared or excess valuation of your shipment (refer to Placing a Value on your Household Possessions). You are required to sign the bill of lading.
It is your responsibility to read the bill of lading (front & back) before you sign it. If you do not agree with something on the bill of lading, do not sign it until you are satisfied that it indicates the service you have ordered.
The bill of lading requires the mover to provide the services you have requested and that you must pay the mover the charges for these services.
The bill of lading is an important document. Do not lose or misplace your copy. You should have it available until your shipment is delivered, all charges are paid and all claims, if any, are settled. Do not underestimate the importance of the bill of lading.
Q: Should I Schedule A Back Up Day?
A: Actually, rather than schedule a back up day, it is best to reconfirm with the mover 48 hours in advance of your moving date.
Q: How Will I Be Expected To Pay?
A: Discuss the method of payment before you move. Some companies request cash, some will accept a credit card or personal check and others will only take a certified check. Payment depends on the terms of the bill of lading or your oral agreement. Be sure to review the bill of lading carefully.
Q: Movers Responsibility For Loss And Damage
A: Many public movers offer to you, as the customer, a base rate called a declared rate, which is on file with the KYTC. The base rate limits the mover’s responsibility for your goods to $.60 per pound per article and is not to be construed as insurance. This means that if any article is damaged or lost, you are entitled to be reimbursed for the actual damage or loss not to exceed $.60 times the actual weight of the article (Example: 50 pound article-movers maximum liability is $30.00/$.60x50 pounds).
Q: How Long Do I Have To Report Damage?
A: The terms of the bill of lading may set specific limits. Read the bill of lading carefully before you sign it. If you have a damage claim, save the damaged items so the mover or adjuster will be able to make a proper judgment. It is in your best interest to report a claim promptly to the mover or adjuster and confirm it in writing.
Q: What Should I Do If I Am Dissatisfied With Any Aspect Of The Move?
A: Your first step should be to contact the mover in writing and explain the problem in detail. Often, you will be able to resolve matters at this level with little difficulty. If you cannot resolve your issues with the mover, you should contact the KYTC. The Cabinet’s Division of Motor Carriers is obligated to investigate written complaints.