Resolving Disputes with Movers

Unfortunately, regardless of planning and precautions that you as the consumer and the mover may undergo, sometimes mistakes and unforeseen situations do occur. However, you do have avenues that you can take to protect yourself and your goods. The first avenue you should take is to be sure that the mover you choose is licensed. Under the Movers Regulation Act, a moving company is required to license their company through the state of Florida. 

For Professional Move issues, PMAF uses a committee of experienced movers who are familiar with the terms and contracts of a successful move and, in turn, provide you with expert analysis, and the best possible resolution to your situation.

What Type of Complaint Do You Have With Your Mover?

Complaints about moving companies usually fall into three different categories:

  • Delays – a missed pickup date or late delivery of the shipment. If your shipment was late or delayed, file a delay claim with your mover, as explained below.
  • Billing Disputes – the amount that the moving company has charged, or if the shipment has not yet been delivered, the additional amount that the mover is requesting before he will perform the delivery. If you feel that you have been over charged, file a claim for overcharge with your mover, as explained below.
  • Loss and Damage – a dispute with a mover regarding the settlement of a claim for loss or damage to a household goods shipment. If articles in your shipment were lost or damaged, file a loss and damage claim with your mover as explained below.

Delay Claims. You and your mover should agree on the dates that your shipment is to be picked up and delivered before you move. It is your responsibility to determine the date or the spread of dates that you require for pickup and delivery of your shipment. Once determined it is your mover’s responsibility to perform the pickup and delivery of your shipment on the agreed dates, as stated on your Bill of Lading. 

Movers accomplish the pickup and delivery of shipments under two similar but different arrangements: agreed dates and guaranteed  dates. It is important to understand  the difference between these two arrangements.

Agreed Pickup and Delivery Dates. Unless you have requested guaranteed service, movers are required to transport your shipment within what the regulations define as “responsible dispatch.” This means that your mover is required to accomplish the pickup and delivery of your shipment on the dates you have requested. The pickup dates could be subject to circumstances that could not have been foreseen or conditions that are beyond the control of the mover that might cause delay.

While your mover will make every effort to see that your shipment is serviced on time, delays due to weather, highway construction, and mechanical breakdown do occur. Also your shipment will frequently be transported along with several other shipments on a large tractor-trailer.

Delays on your shipment can occur if another customer changes his or her plans on an earlier shipment that is already scheduled on the same truck.

If a delay occurs, and as a result you have acquired expenses that you otherwise would not have, you may be able to recover a portion of those expenses by filing an inconvenience or delay claim with your mover. It is important to understand however, that under the reasonable dispatch provisions, your mover (much the same as an airline operates under delayed flight conditions) is under no contractual obligation to compensate you for your delay claim.

Guaranteed Pickup and Delivery Dates. If it is critical that your move be performed on specific dates (to meet landlord requirements, real estate closing dates, or job or school related dates), you may want to consider a service option offered by many movers called Guaranteed Pickup and Delivery Service. Under this option, you enter into an agreement with your mover that provides for your shipment to be picked up and delivered on specific guaranteed dates. If the mover fails to provide the service as agreed, you are entitled to be compensated at a predetermined daily rate or to be reimbursed for a portion of your expenses.

If your shipment was transported under the guaranteed pickup and delivery provisions, you must still file a claim with your mover if your shipment was delayed. Generally such claims should be filed within 30 days of delivery.

Over Charge Claims.  If you move under a non-binding estimate, the cost of your move will be based on the services performed in accordance with the mover’s published tariffs and the mover is legally obligated to collect this amount.

Under a binding estimate, you are obligated to pay the price set forth in the estimate. If you add items or request additional services, the mover may void the original estimate, revise it, or may elect to demand full payment for these added services at the time of delivery. In addition, all movers have the right to charge for services necessary to accomplish delivery, even if those services are not requested by the shipper. For example, additional charges may be applied to your bill if you are not prepared to accept delivery and the shipment is placed in storage, or if a smaller truck must be used to accomplish delivery because your new home is located in an area where a bigger truck could not feasibly run, like a narrow or restricted road.

If you feel that you have been over charged or wrongly charged for services by your mover, file a claim of overcharge with your mover and ask that your bill be reviewed.

Loss and Damage Claims.  If you are moving with in the state of Florida or intrastate moving and you believe that the mover may have damaged some of your possessions you may file a loss or damage claim with your mover. Remember, under law, all movers must provide you with the opportunity to declare a full valuation of your goods. There is a charge for valuations that you declare. You have three choices:

A)  Release coverage at the mover’s basic liability.

B)  Declare a full valuation for depreciated value of all items (Additional Charge)

C)  Declare a full valuation for replacement value of all items. (Additional Charge)

*Movers generally apply a formula of weight times a dollar amount to determine minimum declaration for these two types of valuations.

If you are moving from one state to the other or interstate moving, The AMSA Dispute Settlement Program operates under Federal guidelines to help with the resolution of disputed loss or damage claims. However, the program is limited in the type of cases that may be arbitrated. Under this particular program, only loss and damage claims on interstate C.O.D. shipments are subject to mandatory arbitration.   If your shipment is in transit and you have a complaint about a late pickup or late delivery, or if the dispute is about the quality of service received or charges due under a binding or non-binding estimate (or any other non-eligible dispute), refer to for more information on the AMSA Certified Mover and Van Line Program.

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