Consumer Guide | Moving Companies


Moving can be an extremely stressful process. For some, the process of moving is too big of a task to do themselves, so they hire a moving company to assist with getting their furniture and belongings from one place to another. 

From broken items to missing boxes, hidden costs to rogue moving companies – unfortunately, not every move is simple. It’s important to know your rights. 

Here are some important reminders and resources: 

Preparing For Your Move: 

The Law: 
  • Moving companies are referred to as household goods carriers and are regulated under federal law by the Interstate Commerce Act of 1887. 

Know Your Rights: 

  • Prior to any mover beginning the process of moving your items, they must supply you with a brochure called “Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move.” This will outline how the moving company handles complaints and any programs used to settle disputes. 

Estimate of Charges:

  • An estimate of charges can be provided in two different ways – a binding estimate or a non-binding estimate. Under a binding estimate, it must be clearly stated on the front page of the paperwork that it is a binding estimate and include all charges. In short, the final price quoted will be the final price paid.
  • In a non-binding estimate, it is a quote that provided a reasonable cost for the total shipment. Like the binding estimate, the front page of the paperwork provided to you must clearly state what type of estimate you have been given. In this case, it would need to state ‘non-binding.’ 
  • In some cases the final bill may exceed the non-binding estimate. In the event it exceeds 110% of the estimate, there is something called the 110% rule. According to the Department of Justice, “the mover must deliver your goods when you pay 110% of the estimated amount, and the mover has to defer demand for payment of the remaining balance of the bill for 30 days. This rule is to prevent what is known as “hostage goods,” when the consumer feels that the estimate was not a reasonably accurate representation of the ultimate cost of the move, but the moving company refuses to relinquish the person’s goods until the entire bill is paid.”

Filing a complaint against a mover:

  • One of the first steps is to file a report with the Federal Motor Carrier Administration. You can fill out an online form or by calling them at (888)-368-7238.  
  • You can file a report with the American Moving and Storage Association (AMSA) by filling out a Request for Arbitration form
  • Another option to explore is filing a complaint with the Better Business Bureau (BBB). According to the BBB, complaints are sent on to the business within two business days. Following the initial complaint, the business will then have 14 days to respond before a second request is made. The BBB says most complaints are resolved within 30 days.


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