Ready to Move? Tips For a Successful Long Distance Move

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) wants to make sure you have the information you need to “Protect Your Memories. Your Money. Your Move” from moving fraud. That’s why they have put together these tips to help you choose the best mover for your needs. The best defense against moving fraud is to be informed and aware of your options when choosing a reputable moving company. While most household moves go smoothly, there are dishonest or “rogue” movers you should be aware of. For more information on interstate moves, visit the FMCSA Web site at: www.protectyourmove.gov.

Use Only Registered Movers
Make sure the mover you select has been assigned a USDOT number, is registered with FMCSA to engage in interstate transportation of household goods, and has proper insurance.
You can determine if a mover is registered with FMCSA by accessing www.protectyourmove.gov, or calling FMCSA at (202) 366-9805 for licensing and (202) 385-2423 for insurance

Read and Understand All Information Provided by the Mover
The mover should provide you with the following basic documents as part of your move:

  • Estimates: The estimate should clearly describe, in writing, all charges for services the mover will perform. Make sure the estimate is signed by the mover. Do not accept oral estimates.
  • Order For Service: The order for service is a list of all the services the mover will perform and shows the dates your household goods will be picked up and delivered.
  • Bill of Lading: The bill of lading is a contract between you and the mover and a receipt of your belongings. You should be given a partially completed copy of the bill of lading before the vehicle leaves the residence at origin.
  • Inventory List: The inventory is the receipt showing each item you shipped and its condition. Be sure you receive a written copy of the inventory after your household goods are loaded, and that you agree with its description of your household goods’ condition.

Moving Checklist

Before You Move

  • Obtain the brochure Ready to Move? and the booklet Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move from the mover.
  • Ask for recommendations from neighbors, friends, and relatives regarding the mover.
  • Check with the Better Business Bureau regarding the mover.
  • Find out what the mover’s responsibilities are for damages that may occur to your belongings.
  • Ask if the mover has a dispute settlement program.
  • Obtain estimates from at least three movers, and compare cost and all other services to be provided by the mover.
  • Check to determine whether the interstate mover is registered with FMCSA, and has a USDOT number.
  • Find out how and when pickup and delivery of your household goods will occur.
  • Ask the mover how they can be contacted before the move, during the move, and after the move.
  • Adequately insure your belongings.

Moving Day

  • Be present to answer questions and give directions to the movers. Stay until they finish.
  • Accompany the movers as they inventory your household goods and resolve any questions regarding the condition of materials being moved.
  • Carefully read the information on the estimate, order for service, bill of lading, inventory, and all other completed documents before you sign them.
  • Keep the bill of lading until your goods are delivered, the charges are paid, and any claims are settled.
  • Before the moving van leaves, take one final look throughout the house to make certain nothing has been left behind.
  • Give the driver directions to your new house.
  • Inform the driver and the moving company of where you can be reached during the move.

Delivery Day

  • Be present to answer any questions and give directions.
  • Pay the driver, according to the term of your agreement, before your goods are unloaded.
  • Supervise unloading and unpacking of your goods.
  • Note on the inventory list all boxes or other items that are damaged before you sign any documents.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) develops, maintains, and enforces Federal regulations that establish safe operating requirements for commercial vehicle drivers, carriers, vehicles, and vehicle equipment. FMCSA regulates interstate household goods movers and requires them to register with the agency. Its regulations protect consumers on interstate moves and define the rights and responsibilities of consumers and household goods carriers. You can contact them at 1-800-832-5660.

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