To help your move go more smoothly, research your choice of mover, communicate with the company about the move upfront, and know what your rights are if something goes wrong.
There are two basic types of moves and each is regulated differently.
An interstate move is a move from one state to another and is regulated primarily by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. In an interstate move, your mover must provide you with a written estimate of total charges, or a guaranteed total price. If you use a broker and the broker gives you an estimate, the estimate must be in writing.
An intrastate move takes place entirely within the borders of one state (for example, moving from Charlotte to Greensboro). The North Carolina Utilities Commission (NCUC) regulates movers within our state. Under North Carolina law, intrastate movers of household goods must obtain a certificate from the Utilities Commission to operate. The Commission maintains the list of certified movers. Beware of movers who are not certified to conduct intrastate moves in North Carolina. Minimize the risk of moving-day delays, damages, inflated charges, or loss of possessions by hiring a legal, NCUC-certified mover. The Utilities Commission also sets the maximum amounts intrastate movers may charge. Some certified intrastate movers can offer lower rates, so shopping around may save you money.
- The costs for in-state moves greater than 35 miles and moves between states are based on mileage, weight, the number of boxes the mover packs for you, and any special services you need. In-state moves that are 35 miles or less are based on hourly rates rather than weight.
Whether you’re moving across town, across North Carolina or across the country, keep the following tips in mind:
- Check out the moving company. Ask friends for recommendations. While most moving companies operate legitimately, some do not. If you have any doubt about a company’s credentials, check them out before you do business.
- For between-state moves, ask for the mover’s Motor Carrier number and then check the U.S. Department of Transportation’s website www.protectyourmove.gov to see whether the mover is registered and insured. You can also see a record of any complaints that consumers have filed against the mover, and get more tips about interstate moves.
- For moves within North Carolina, ask the moving company for its North Carolina Utilities Commission Certificate number and then call the Utilities Commission’s Public Staff at (919) 733-7766 to see if they have complaints on file against the company. For more information, check out Moving 101- A Consumer’s Guide.
- Get a written estimate of costs. Make sure you understand the charges listed and what services are included. Keep in mind that an estimate is not a guarantee and that the actual move may wind up costing you more.
- Take inventory. Ask the movers to prepare a written inventory of your shipment, or write down your own inventory. It’s a good idea to take pictures or video of antique or other valuable property prior to the move so you will be better able to prove any damage that occurs during the move.
- Ask for a bill of lading. This is a written contract that sets forth the terms and conditions of your move. Your mover is required to provide a bill of lading in all intrastate and interstate moves. Be sure to read it carefully and keep a copy until your move is finished and any disputes with your mover have been resolved.
- Set dates. Ask the mover to specify pick up and delivery dates in writing.
- Know your liability. Make sure you understand your moving company’s policy for items that get lost or damaged in the course of your move.
- Get satisfaction. If there are problems with your move, let the company know about them as soon as possible. If necessary, file a written complaint with the company no later than nine months after the delivery. You can also file a complaint with the proper regulating agency.
- For complaints about between-state moves, contact the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Office of Motor Carrier Analysis, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE, Washington DC 20290, call 1-888-368-7238, or visit their website. Remember, FMCSA cannot resolve claims. If you are not satisfied with the settlement offered by the mover you have the option of taking the case to court or arbitration.
- For complaints about moves within North Carolina, contact the NC Utilities Commission Public Staff, Transportation Rates Division, 4326 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-4300 or call (919) 733-7766.
We Can Help
If you have a complaint about a mover and aren’t able to get satisfaction from the company, contact us for help or call toll free within North Carolina at 1-877-5-NO-SCAM.