How to file a moving complaint

A young businessman holding a document, with the intention to file a moving complaint.

Moving is a demanding and complex process. It consists of many tasks of varying difficulties. As such, it offers plenty of possibilities of something going awry. Fortunately, they aren’t everyday occurrences. Still, accidents happen, and when they do, you need to know what your options are and how to resolve disputes with your movers, if it comes to that. However, before getting into it, you need to file a moving complaint. It is the first and necessary step to a successful resolution of the problem.

Occasions that demand you file a moving complaint

You shouldn’t file a moving complaint about every single little inconvenience. However, issues can arise due to the unprofessional or irresponsible behavior of movers. If they breach the contract or cause harm to your or your belongings through (in)action, then yes – taking action is in order.

A person reading a contract to get ready to file a moving complaint.

Situations that warrant complaints are:

Damaged belongings or property – due to mishandling during loading, unloading, packing, or transport;
Lost belongings – failure to deliver some or all your cargo;
Unprofessional behavior – rude, dismissive, unavailable, or ignorant staff;
Unnecessary delays – significantly late pickup or delayed delivery;
Deliberate prolonging of service to increase hourly charges – in case of movers that charge by the hour.
This is by no means an extensive list of issues. However, these are the most common ones.

Moving scams are always the reason to file a moving complaint
The next few problems are in the domain of moving scams:

Deposit scam – “Movers” demand you put down a deposit in cash, and way more than necessary under normal circumstances. After that, they become unavailable and never show;
Overcharging – movers charge you a lot more at the end of the move. In most cases, they provide some sort of “rational explanation”;
Holding belongings hostage – this happens if you refuse to pay for the additional charges. Movers will refuse to unload or even drive away with your belongings.

Moving scams are nerve-wracking and cause a great deal of pain and misery. Therefore, you need to avoid them at all costs. The best way to do this is to learn to recognize fraudulent moversrecognize fraudulent movers. The research will take you some time. Still, in the long run, it will save you a lot of headaches.

You can avoid moving issues

Common moving issues we mentioned do sound intimidating. And – they are, especially if you consider that this happens everywhere, whether you’re moving anywhere in Washington or Alabama. With that said, it’s good to know that you can avoid this by finding the right help. However, it will take some effort and engagement on your part. You will have to set some time aside to research movers before hiring them. Still, if you have a reliable moving company, the possibility of anything going wrong becomes minimal.

An alternative solution for the worst-case scenario

Moving companies offer a variety of valuation options. These are movers’ equivalent of insurance, and Having moving insurance is always beneficial. However, sometimes you might want an additional layer of security. In these cases, you should consider third-party insurance. It costs a bit more, but it will give you much-needed peace of mind.

Steps to take to file a moving complaint

As we already said, accidents do happen, whether to an unfortunate set of circumstances or through a moving company’s mistake. However, there is a silver lining, even in the worst situations. Any moving company that cares about its reputation will take action to resolve the issue. So, the first step you should take is:

Step 1: Contact a moving company and voice your concern

It’s ideal to resolve any issues without involving a third-party. So, in the spirit of good-will, you should contact the moving company directly. Explain the situation and try to find common ground.

Agitated man screaming into the phone.

The most important thing here is not to lose your cool. Yes, you may be mad – furious, even. But being polite will help you and your movers come to a solution faster. So, take a deep breath, gather your thoughts, and then make a call.

Don’t go into an argument blindly

Instead, you want to document your concerns and gather evidence to corroborate your claim. It’s best to do this on-the-fly, i.e., as you’re going through the moving process.

Take pictures of belongings before the move. It is a bit tedious, but it will help you if any of them are damaged or missing upon delivery.
Note down events, times, and details of your movers. And we don’t mean “acknowledge what’s happening”. Write it all down, so you can corroborate your claim.
Review the moving contract in-depth. This will help you pinpoint where the breach is and make the whole process faster.
These actions are essential if a moving company requests that you file a claim in writing. And, more often than not, they will, so it pays to prepare in advance.

Optional step: Write a review

If the moving company refuses to acknowledge your claim, is rude, or blatantly ignores you, you might have to take drastic measures. And writing a review is one of the best.

Today, the vast majority of people use the internet to find movers. They scour the reviews and use them to eliminate bad movers from the equation. And moving companies are perfectly aware of this. Because of it, they will rarely, if ever, risk a public fallout and damage to their online rating. So, use this to your advantage and write a review.

Having this in mind, you don’t want to berate the company, no matter how mad you are at the moment. Instead, be objective and explain your side of the story. The benefits of this are twofold:

1. You can force your movers’ hand and begin communication. If they are willing to negotiate, you might want to continue the argument offline.
2. If they still refuse to cooperate, at least you prevented someone else from making the same mistake.

Step 2: Involve the Third party
Unfortunately, sometimes things won’t work out the easy way. If you fail to come to an agreement with the movers, you might want to take the whole thing to another level, which means involving a third party. In this case, your options are:

American Moving and Storage Association (AMSA) – an independent organization that can arbitrate in handling moving disputes. They deal with interstate and intrastate movers. Therefore, they are a logical first choice.
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) – A government agency, and a subdivision of USDOT. The FMCSA regulates interstate moving companies.
The Better Business Bureau (The BBB) – The BBB’s seal of approval is a valuable asset. Rarely any company will risk losing it, as it can mean a serious blow to their reputation. Therefore, you might want to file a complaint through them.

A jet black judge’s hammer.

Only when everything else fails should you opt to take things to court.

Step 3: The last resort
If everything else fails, you might want to take things to court. In this case, it’s best to Contact your attorneys at law and discuss your options.

Don’t be afraid to reach out

Movers are people like any other. They are aware that we live in a less than ideal world, and they know that accidents happen. Therefore, don’t hesitate to reach out and file a moving complaint with them. In the vast majority of cases, they are as eager as you to find the best solution. And, more often than not, they will go out of their way to help you.