What if Movers Break My Stuff?
Moving can be a very stressful time! Between cleaning and packing an entire house, hiring movers, transferring all your utilities, and then unpacking and settling in, you just want everything to go according to plan. So, what happens if you realize that the movers you hired have broken or damaged something during the move? We’ll tell you the steps you need to take to ensure you get a fair settlement.
When your items arrive at your new home, take a few moments to check all your boxes and furniture pieces for any damage. You don’t have to open every single box right then, but check over the ones marked fragile. Then, once the movers have finished bringing everything in, do a check of the walls, ceilings, doorframes, floors, and any other places something could have been bumped and damaged. Yes, you probably have a lot of other things to do at this moment, but noting damage as soon as possible—before the movers have even left—makes your claim more legitimate, plus it enables them to potentially start solving the issue at that moment.
Take Lots of Photos
Take pictures of your valuables, larger items, and fragile pieces as you pack them or immediately before they are to be moved to show the condition they are currently in. Upon inspecting them at your new home, take pictures immediately if you notice any damage. Use the date feature on your phone or camera to show exactly when these pictures were taken.
Make Detailed Notes
In addition to taking pictures of the damage, document the damage as soon as possible. It’s best if you can write it directly on your bill of lading or other invoice provided to you by your moving company, but in a notebook with today’s date is certainly better than nothing. You’ll want to continue to date and document any conversations, messages, payments, and anything else that happens until the time the dispute is solved.
Read Your Moving Contract
Your moving contract should have a clause in it about the company’s general policies around lost or damaged items. Most companies will discuss this with you beforehand and consult with you about your specific valuable items and their fair replacement values. Your contract should also tell you how long you have to make a claim with them for lost or damaged items. Re-read your contract before you file a claim to make sure you know what’s in it and so you have an idea what to expect during the claim process.
File a Claim
Contact your moving company as soon as possible after you notice the damage to start your claim. If you have purchased moving insurance through another source, you should contact them as well, or instead of the moving company. The important part is to start the claim as soon as possible. Even if your contract or insurance states that you have a longer period to file a claim, it’s best to do it as soon as possible.
Keep the Damaged Item(s)
Don’t fix or dispose of anything that’s broken until your claim has been closed to your satisfaction. As crazy as it sounds, you’ll want to keep that bag full of broken glass and not patch any holes in your wall. Because even if you have taken pictures and someone has looked at it, you never know when someone else from the claims company may need to take a look.
Leave A Review for The Moving Company
Although you may be tempted to jump onto your computer as soon as your movers leave to tell everyone how they damaged your items, give the moving company a fair chance to respond first.
If you find you’re not getting anywhere with your claim and contact is not being returned in a reasonable time, it may then be time to post a public review explaining the details and your disappointment in a fair, calm tone. Although most companies are honest and trustworthy, some may need a nudge to do the right thing.
Escalate Your Claim
If your claim has not been resolved to your satisfaction, and further contact has continually been ignored, it may be time to make a formal complaint about the moving company to the Better Business Bureau or the regulatory body for movers.
If you’re looking to make a move and are interested in looking at condos, houses, or townhouses for sale in Oakville, Mississauga, Burlington, and Hamilton, the friendly, knowledgeable real estate agents at Alex Irish & Associates can help! And we can recommend some excellent moving companies too!