Each year, millions of Americans move from their current home to a new location with the help of movers and a moving company. Although many people move yearly, there is only a small number of those who end up filing complaints against their moving company afterward.
When this occurs, it is usually because a homeowner is being overcharged, they suspect rogue movers or their belongings have been damaged/lost during the move. In these situations, filing a complaint and seeking justice is completely necessary, making it increasingly important to know how to file a formal complaint against your moving company. This will ensure your complaint is filed successfully and able to be taken care of promptly.
If you put your trust in a moving company, only to find your belongings damaged or lost after settling into your new home, filing a complaint may be the next step towards making sure everything is resolved with ease.
When Shouldn’t I File a Complaint Against a Company?
When it comes to filing a complaint against your moving company, it is important to know when it is appropriate to take this next step. You will want to make sure you have a good reason to file the complaint and a strong argument that will back you up. Most importantly, you want to make sure you are filing a formal complaint.
A formal complaint, in this situation, is for instances when a moving company violates the terms and conditions that were set in the contract that both parties signed or when your carrier violates the federal regulations governing the interstate shipment of goods.
If you are complaining about movers having a poor attitude or their company having a misleading website, you will not have the means for a strong argument. Since the company you worked with did not violate their contract, you are better off just leaving it alone. Instead, it might be a better idea to write a negative review about this company and warn future clients before they decide to work with them.
When Should I File a Complaint Against my Moving Company?
If you have a formal complaint to make and the moving company you worked with violated the terms of their contract, you have a valid argument to back you. If you have been overcharged or received unexpected charges, your property was damaged or lost, your shipment was late, you were involved in a moving scam, or you suspect rouge movers – it is the right time to file a complaint against your moving company.
If you find yourself facing any of these situations after moving, don’t hesitate to file a formal complaint. This will help set everything into motion, bringing you peace of mind knowing that any issues between you and your moving company will be resolved soon.
How Do I File a Complaint Against a Florida Moving Company?
Before you file your complaint, you will want to gather important documents along with any information regarding your move and the company you worked with. This will keep you better prepared to give any details that might be needed as the formal complaint is being made.
What to Do:
- Find all paperwork relevant to your case (including contracts, receipts, inventory, bills, etc)
- Collect evidence that supports your claim (before/after photographs of damaged belongings, etc)
- Review your contract and know your rights
- Keep note of all parties that you speak to
- Find out who your company is accredited through
- Locate the carrier or brokers DOT Number
Once you are sure that you have a valid argument and evidence to support your claim, there are a couple of steps you can take to make sure everything is handled professionally, promptly, and attentively.
Step 1: File your Complaint
If you have an unresolved issue with your moving company, it is best to try to solve everything peacefully without getting any third parties involved. This will not only help save you time and money, but it will ensure everything works out in your favor by addressing any issues with your moving company directly.
Contact your moving company and explain the issue at hand, providing them with any evidence that you have gathered. In most cases, you will need to file a written complaint against your mover so that it can become official. This will give you the legitimacy you need to hold a strong argument and be taken seriously by your moving company.
If you worked with a reputable company, they should want to get everything taken care of and resolved without any issues. But, if you suspect a moving scam, rogue movers, or your moving company just isn’t being helpful, you may need to proceed with the next steps.
Step 2: Leave an Honest Review
If you tried to contact your moving company, only to be ignored or overlooked, take the opportunity to write an honest online review. This will not only give you a platform to share your story, but you will have the opportunity to warn others about the wrongful acts of the moving company you used.
Like any company, they understand the impact that negative reviews can have on their business and how it affects their ability to attract new clientele. If you leave an honest review, it will be seen and it might just give you the leverage you need to get everything resolved. If your review makes a big enough impact, it might open a door for the company to contact you personally in an attempt to settle any issues.
In turn, you may offer to remove the negative review if everything is handled appropriately and resolved with ease.
Step 3: File with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)
If the company did not take your claim seriously or they weren’t bothered by the review you left on their website, it is time to contact the U.S. Department of Transportation about your interactions with this company.
There are a few things you would take to the Federal Motor Carrier and Safety Administration to make sure everything is handled properly, which includes:
- Overcharging or unexpected charges
- Lost or damaged belongings
- Failure to deliver your goods by the date of the Bill of Lading
- Problems with the license or insurance of the moving company
If you have experienced any of these issues with your moving company, it is the right time to file a formal complaint through the FMCSA. They will demand that the mover acknowledges your claim within 30 days, with an additional 120 days to settle or dispute your claim. This will make sure something is done in regards to your claim, within a timely manner.
You can submit a complaint through the U.S. Department of Transportation website or by phone, with the help of a qualified professional who will take you through the entire process. Once your claim is accepted by the FMCSA, it will be on the moving company’s public record. This should bring you peace of mind, knowing your claim is filed and will soon be resolved, giving you the chance to finally settle into your home and relax.
You can reach the FMCSA Monday through Friday at their toll-free number, (888) 368-7238 or you can submit a complaint through their user-friendly website.
Step 4: File with the Better Business Bureau (BBB)
If the moving company you worked with is accredited through the Better Business Bureau, it is in your best interest to file a formal complaint with them. The BBB makes sure that all moving companies follow guidelines that control how they operate. They are available to help customers with any complaints while holding moving company’s accountable for their wrongful actions.
You can file a complaint through the BBB’s website or visit one of their offices in person if they have a location near your city. A professional will make sure your complaint is filed successfully so that everything can be taken care of easily.
Once your complaint is made official, the moving company will be contacted within 2 days and given 14 days to reply to the pending claim against them. You will receive updates through a BBB representative, keeping you notified about the moving company and any actions they are taking in regards to your complaint.
This means that most issues can be resolved within a month, making the process as simple as possible. This will not only save you time, but with a simplified process, you will be able to settle into your home knowing that everything is being sorted out and settled.
Step 5: File with the American Moving and Storage Association (AMSA)
The American Moving and Storage Association holds a reputation for helping customers and dealing with complaints, giving new homeowners the peace of mind they need to settle any issues with their moving company.
If your moving company is accredited with the AMSA or if they’re an AMSA member, they have agreed to partake in the arbitration program for complaints against property damage or billing disputes. If you need to file a complaint that deals with damaged belongings or billing issues, you will need to fill out a Request for Arbitration Form on the AMSA website to make sure everything is settled properly.
If you have a complaint about a shipment delay or the quality of service, you can file a complaint against your moving company on the AMSA website. Once your complaint is lodged, the moving company will be contacted and a written explanation of the complaint will be obtained.
One of the benefits of filing your complaint through the AMSA is that you will not be charged. This can help you remain financially stable, especially after a big move while still seeing everything get resolved between you and your moving company.
Step 6: Take your Complaint to a Florida Small Claims Court
If all else fails and a resolution has not yet occurred, it may be the right time to take your complaint to small claims court. If you were involved in a moving scam or suspect rouge movers, heading towards the court of law is the next logical step to take.
Keep in mind, this outcome can end up costing you money in the long run, so be prepared and make sure it is worth it before you get started. We can provide you with a case review, to get a better idea of the costs and fees involved with your case, and to explain how we can make sure it will be worth it in the end once everything is resolved.
If you can handle the financial aspect and seek justice for your case, bringing your complaint to court might be the only way to see that everything is resolved and settled with your moving company.
Step 7: Filing in Florida
If you live in the state of Florida, you can also take your complaint to the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. You can contact them by phone at 1-800-HELP-FLA or visit their website at www.800helpfla.com.
How to Avoid Moving Scams:
When it comes to finding a reputable moving company you can trust to get the job done properly, there are a few things to keep in mind to avoid moving scams or the possibility of rogue movers.
It is important to do your research, looking for any red flags that might show up as your browse through different moving company’s websites.
Red Flags to Look Out For:
- You are having trouble finding the moving company’s information on their website, there is no physical address anywhere, or there is no proof of insurance listed. This is all alarming since a legitimate company would easily provide all of this information on their website.
- The company you are contacting only does phone estimates. This not only makes no sense but sparks immediate concern. A reputable company should come to your home and make an official estimate that you can agree on. This is standard practice, so if a phone estimate is suggested you may want to look for a different company to work with.
- The moving company requires a large down payment beforehand, or if the bid seems suspicious. This is a major red flag because scammers will typically take a down payment and run.
- The company keeps saying “insurance covers everything.” In most cases, protection starts at 60 cents a pound, meaning this is what the company will reimburse you with if there were any damaged or lost belongings during the move. Insurance does not cover “everything” and this statement is misleading, making it difficult to trust the integrity of the movers who are giving you this information.
- The company does not mention your “rights and responsibilities.” By law, a moving company is required to provide their customers with documents titled “Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move.”This is just standard practice, so if it has not been done then the company you have contacted is probably not trustworthy.
- The movers show up in an unmarked truck. Most reputable moving companies will have signage on their vehicles to advertise on the road, so if their truck is blank, you have every right to be suspicious.
- The company charges by cubic feet or by volume. This is illegal and any moving company is required to charge by weight only. Keep this in mind to make sure you are being charged correctly.
Tips to Avoid Moving Scams:
- Check the company’s moving license. By making sure that the company’s license is legitimate, you can have peace of mind moving forward, knowing that you hired a reputable company to move you and your family.
- Pay with a credit card. When paying with this option, you will ensure that nothing is taken from your account that won’t be accounted for and documented afterward. This will ensure you know where your money is going, and if you need proof that it was taken, it will be available in your credit card statement.
- Reread the contract and make sure you understand everything that is included in the terms and conditions before you agree or sign. Take your time looking over this document and make sure you understand everything you are signing. This will prevent any misunderstandings from occurring later on.
- Keep an inventory of your belongings, especially if you have something collectible or worth money. This will help you keep track of everything you pack, making it easier to identify any missing belongings once you start unpacking.
- Read online reviews. Reviews are one of the most useful tools when it comes to finding a reputable moving company. You can look for honest opinions and get a better idea of the company you’re working with. This will give you insight into the company, making it easier to decide if they are reputable enough to work with and trust during your move.
- Document the move. Take photos of your belongings before the move, just in case damage occurs and you need photo evidence to back your claim. Keep notes of everything that goes on with the movers, documenting everything from the pick-up date to drop-off. Even if it seems unnecessary at the time, these things may come in handy if you find yourself needing to file a complaint against your moving company later on.
- Consider getting moving insurance. If you have the extra money and want extra protection when moving to your new home, you may consider investing in moving insurance. This will protect your belongings if they become lost or damaged, making it easier to make sure everything goes smoothly during your move with an added layer of protection.
Filing a Complaint Against your Florida Moving Company Successfully
Moving to a new location is already stressful enough, between packing up all your belongings, shipping your vehicle, and making sure your family arrives at your new home safely – the last thing you should have to worry about is your moving company.
By taking the right precautions and reading reviews, you can avoid scammers or unreliable movers easily. Keep an eye out for red flags and make sure everything seems legitimate before you proceed. This will help you avoid scams or rogue movers, making the entire moving process as simple as possible. With a company you can trust, you should have peace of mind knowing everything will be handled professionally.
But, if you find yourself in a sticky situation or mixed up in a scam, there is always a step you can take to get the justice you deserve. Whether you are being overcharged, have damaged or lost belongings, received a late shipment, or suspect you’re part of a moving scam with an illegitimate company, filing a complaint and taking legal action will be completely necessary.
Start by trying to settle everything calmly, speaking one on one to the company. If that brings no luck, write an honest review and see if you can grab the company’s attention. In most cases, this will drive them to work with you to resolve the issue at hand, but sometimes that isn’t enough.
If things continue to escalate, it is time to file a complaint through whoever your moving company is accredited through. Whether you file through the FMSCA, BBB, or AMSA, your complaint is guaranteed to be handled professionally and promptly. You can also take your complaint to small claims court if necessary, to make sure that you are compensated for the wrongdoings of your moving company.
With this being said, it is important to educate yourself and do research before putting your trust in a moving company. Look at their website, keep an eye out for red flags, and make sure everything checks out. Make sure their information adds up and that all documents are legitimate. Use your best judgment, relying on reviews and recommendations to help you make the best decision for your move.
Moving is stressful enough, from packing to settling in, and getting adjusted to a new space. Take some of your worries away by making sure your moving company is legitimate and can be trusted to get the job done. But, if the unexpected happens and things end up going awry, at least you now have the proper tools to file a complaint against your moving company successfully.