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Choosing the Right Neighborhood
After you have made the important decision to move your family, the next important decision will be where to move them to. There are several things that need to be considered when looking for a new neighborhood to move to. Here are 6 tips to keep in mind when searching for your new home:
When it comes to searching for the perfect neighborhood for your family, you can never be too informed. By remembering these few tips, you can feel secure that you made the best possible decision for your family.
At the time of the move we tend to take inventory of the items we no longer need. As it will cost extra to relocate unneeded items, we get rid of them. Some of the items are sold at the garage sale, and the rest are thrown away. It is important to keep in mind that items need to be separated and recycled.
Household appliances, like all consumer goods, require energy and resources in their creation, operation, and disposal. Environmental consequences after disposal may include the introduction of greenhouse gases, heavy metals and toxic chemicals into the environment. Refrigerators, air conditioners, electronics, and fluorescent lighting products pose particular risks to the environment that should be kept in check; however, consumers should minimize the impact of all disposed goods by recycling as much of the durable materials as possible (metals, plastics, glass) and by making themselves aware of and recovering any harmful substances involved. This reduces the impact of landfill waste as well as further mining of increasingly scarce resources.
Cooling equipment, such as refrigerators, freezers, dehumidifiers and room air conditioners involve refrigerants and insulating foams that release ozone-depleting substances and greenhouse gases once in a landfill. Older appliances may also contain PCBs or mercury. Newer products (made within the past 10 years) do not contain these toxic materials and use refrigerants and foam blowing agents that are less harmful to the ozone layer, but they still contribute greenhouse gas emissions. Federal law requires the removal and proper disposal of refrigerants but not foam products.
Most municipalities will pick up your old refrigerator, freezer or air conditioner with the bulk trash pick-up (you must call the city to arrange a pick-up). By law, the city must must dispose of refrigerants, PCBs and mercury properly. But first, contact your utility and read below to see if there is a rebate or bounty program in your area.
Electronics, most notably televisions and computer monitors, involve a variety of recyclable and toxic materials, including plastics, glass, steel, gold, lead, mercury, cadmium beryllium, nickel, zinc, and brominated flame retardants, many of which can be recaptured and used again.
Several major electronics manufacturers have programs in place to accept their old hardware, usually as a trade-in upon purchase of a new unit. They are joined by retail stores, including Staples, Best Buy, Office Depot and Wal-Mart, who have programs to collect appliances such as computers, monitors, laptops, printers, faxes and all-in-ones for recycling in accordance with environmental laws.
A growing number of municipalities are offering e-waste recycling at their recycling drop-off centers. Contact your city or find a local e-waste recycling or donation program by visiting EPA's eCycling page.
Lighting equipment is generally not treated as toxic waste, but fluorescent lamps, including CFLs, are an exception because they contain trace amounts of mercury. Although not regulated at the federal level, several states ban the disposal of CFLs in household trash.
Many towns and cities offer recycling opportunities for CFLs at local recycling centers or transfer stations. A number of large retailers also provide collection bins for CFL recycling. State requirements and recycling opportunities vary. To find out what programs are available in your state or region, go to www.epa.gov/bulbrecycling.
If you have a fluorescent fixture in your basement or workroom that was manufactured before 1979, the ballast may contain PCBs that must be disposed of responsibly under federal law. Go to www.lamprecycle.org for list of national lamp and ballast recyclers.
Intrastate moves and interstate moves are governed by different agencies and therefore, the moving companies are required to follow your state's or the federal regulations.
The most important message of this article is to understand the difference between a moving quote and a moving estimate.
A moving quote can be a written or a verbal description of the charges. For example, for your local move the mover will quote you an hourly rate , explain additional charges and provide you with an approximate time it should take to move the residence same size as yours. It is crucial to be aware that moving quotes, whether verbal or written, are NOT BINDING.
All written estimates must be based on a visual inspection of goods and must show total estimated charges.
In California, your movers are not required to provide you with moving estimates, therefore after you have selected two or three moving companies, request them to provide you with a written estimate, so that you can compare their prices and get a Binding Estimates.
Interstate moves are governed by USDOT, which requires all movers to prepare a written estimate on every shipment transported across state lines.
If the location you are moving from is located with in 50 mile radius of your mover's (or its agent's) place of business, the estimate must be based on a physical survey of your goods. The estimate must be dated and contain all services requested by you and the total cost for the move.
Before loading your household goods, and upon mutual agreement between you and the mover, the mover may amend an estimate of charges, by creating a Change of Order form. The mover may not make any changes to the estimate after the shipment has been loaded.
A Binding Estimate is a written agreement made in advance with the mover, indicating you and the mover are bound by the charges. It guarantees the total cost of the move based upon the quantities and services shown on your mover's estimate. By federal law, your mover may charge you for providing a binding estimate.
A Non-Binding Estimate is what your mover believes the total cost will be for the move, based upon the estimated weight of the shipment and the additional services requested. The non-binding estimate is not binding on your mover. The estimate must indicate that your final charges will be based upon the actual weight o your shipment, the services provided. Your mover is not permitted to charge you for giving a non-binding estimate.
You must be prepared to pay at delivery the cost of any additional services that you requested after the contract was executed that were not included in the estimate. If you add items or request services not included in the estimate, the mover will provide a Change Order for Services (Change Order) before performing services. Change Order form will indicate new services and costs associated with those. If you disagree with the costs, you do not have to pay for those, however the mover does not perform those services if you refuse to pay for them as well. The change order becomes your new estimate.
Physical Inspection of Your Shipment
Moving company will set up an appointment for an estimator to come for a visual inspection of your items. The estimator will take a detailed inventory of the articles and mark them in the State or Federal Estimate Form. On the back of the estimate form, there is "Table of Measurements"
The estimator adds up the items and comes up with the total size in cubic feet. Each cubic foot on average (household goods) represts 7 lbs. Therefore, the total number of cubic feet is multiplied by 7, and this is the estimated weight of the shipment.
Example: 500 cubic feet x 7 = 3,500 lbs.
If you have a Binding Estimate, the amounto of the estimate is the highest price you can be charged. Unless, there were charges on the Change Order form.
On the move day your moving company is required to provide you with a moving contract also known as a Bill of Lading or Freight Bill.
The bill of lading serves as the receipt for the goods and the contract between you and the mover for the transportation. As a general rule, the customer signs bill of lading on the morning before movers start work, at that time you will select valuation option and the declare the value of your shipment.
Bill of lading is a key document since it contains essential information, such as terms and conditions of the agreement between mover and shipper, as such it is a contract between the parties involved.
Bill of Lading includes a valuation section, which establishes the liability level of the mover in case of loss or damage to goods.
Bill of lading serves to:
Bill of lading is only partially complete at the time of pick up. As the total time of the move or the weight of the shipment will be determined later after the labor has been performed or the truck has been weighed.
A copy of bill of lading or freight bill must accompany shipment at all times, while in mover's possession. The bill of lading must be in driver's possession after the shipment has been loaded and right to the point it is delivered to customer. Moving company must retain a copy of the bill of lading for at least 12 months.
Here is a copy of California bill of lading
Your movers must inventory shipments that are not going to be delivered the same day. This means that all long distance moves, and shipments going to be held in mover's warehouse or on the truck for a period of more than one night must be inventoried. There is no extra charge for this service. Local moves are charged hourly and the shipment is delivered the same day. Therefore, taking inventory will take extra time that would be counted as part of relocation and will add cost. However, a customer can request mover to inventory their shipment during a local move, as long as customer understands of the additional time and cost associated with it.
The mover will prepare an inventory of the shipment at the time of the move, prior to loading the truck. The purpose of writing an inventory is to make a record of the existence and condition of each item.
After the inventory is complete, both you and the mover must sign each page. Before you sign it, it is important to make sure that inventory lists every item in your shipment and that the entries regarding the condition of each article are correct. You can point out any discrepancies you find to the mover, and if you don't come to an agreement you can make notations of those items. You may even take pictures to attach to your inventory file.
Each article will be assigned a numbered sticker. The number on the sticker will be represented on the inventory report. As items are offloaded from the truck and are being unwrapped, they should be immediately inspected and any damages or losses discovered should be noted on the inventory pages again. This will not constitute the claim, however this will help when or if you need to file a claim.
At the time of the delivery if there are new - move related damages or lost items, you will file a claim. The notations on inventory report and your pictures will later will give you an ability to dispute any rejections.
The copies of inventory pages should be retained until the delivery. Your mover will keep the originals.
The form has dozens of descriptive symbols of possible condition of household goods..
Descriptive, Eception and Location Symbols help to describe the condition of the article.
Very commonly used obriviations:
PBO - Packed by owner
CP - Carrier packed
SW - Stratch wrapped
EXAMPLE - INVENTORY IN USE
# 4 - Large Box - PBO (packed by owner), CU (Condition Unknown)
# 5 - Work Bench1 - CH (chipped), ST (stained), F (faded), SC (scratched), D (dented)
# 6 - Work Bench2 - CH (chipped), SC (scratched), F (faded), D (dented)
# 7 - Small Box - PBO (packed by owner)
Moving Antique Furniture
There is some preliminary work that must be done before the move.
Check with your homeowner's insurance to find out which part of the move may be covered under your current policy. Find out if there are any limitations in its coverage.
Is your shipment covered
Find out from your movers what type of valuation protection is offered through their company.
Get familiar with your movers contract aka bill of lading ahead of time. Bill of lading will desribe what your mover is liabile and which items they have no liabiltiy over.
You will need to provide your movers with a list of all items of extraordinary value. This list must include all items with a value of more than $100 per pound. Describe those items on the list separately and add their market value and condition as well.
This list will help packers and movers find those articles and pay special attention at packing them and handling them during the move.
Our packers will build soft or wooden crates to protect your articles.
Movers will do the following:
• Secure loose parts and removable pieces.
• Secure doors with rubber straps or strings.
• Remove delicate handles and tape them inside drawers.
• Remove glass panels, glass doors or mirrors, and pack them separately.
• Remove legs from tables of antique furniture, pack them separately, taping them to the base or inside of a cabinet or a table they came from.
• Place hardware and small pieces in labeled plastic bags. Put these bags in a labeled Parts Box.
Be present at the time of delivery to observe the unload, instruct movers to open all boxes with valuables and antique furniture so that you can you thoroughly review each item and check their condition on the inventory list you have originally created for the items of extraordinary value. If you find any damages or items missing make a note of those. The missing item must be brought to mover's attention immediately, so they have a chance to locate it.
The bill of lading is an official contract between the customer and the mover. Every shipment transported by movers must have a bill of lading, it is the law. The driver or foreman representing moving company must present customer with a copy of the bill of lading before beginning of loading household goods.
It is customer's responsibility to read the bill of lading before signing it. If customer doesn't understand or disagrees with anything on the bill of lading, customer should not sign it until he/she is fully understands it and the contract satisfies customers wishes.
The bill of lading just like the order for service form must describe all services mover is hired to perform and the mover must provide all of the services requested. And the customer must pay for the services he requested in the bill of lading.
Bill of Lading is one of the most important documents that customer will receive from the mover, it should be kept safe until the move is completed and all possible claims, pertaining to the move are fully settled.
The bill of lading consists of 14 distinctive elements, in the order shown below:
Three attachments to the bill of lading must be added by mover to customer with bill of lading:
Bill of Lading must accompany the shipment while it is in transit. It's copy must be kept by the driver responsible for the shipment.
The mover must retain a copy of bill of lading for at least one year since that contract has been created.
(as shown below from a real long distance bill of lading)
(the top of bill of lading is intentionally cut out to protect customer's privacy)
IMPORTANT ARTICLES OF BILL OF LADING
- Date when customer placed the order, and name of representative at the office that took it.
- The dates of pickup and delivery or the period of time for pickup and deliveries must be specified and written in bill of lading. Do Not agree to have your shipment to be picked up or delivered "as soon as possible".
Once those dates are indicated in the bill of lading, your mover becomes contractually bound to the chosen guidelines. The only time a mover can be excused from providing services on the dates called for is the defense of force majeure. "Force Majeure" is a legal terms, which means that the circumstances were changed due to an unforeseen, and outside of mover's control. In this case the mover is not responsible for the damages resulting from its non-performance of written obligation.
- The actual weight of customer's shipment must be determined (for binding and non-binding estimated moves) in order to calculate a lawful tariff charge.
First Weighing - the truck must be weighed (light) prior to getting customers shipment loaded, also known as Tare Weight of shipment. The truck's tanks must be full of fuel and it must contain all of the equipment it will use and carry with it in transit.
Second Weighing - the truck will be weighed (heavy) after the customers shipment has been loaded on it, also known as the Gross Weight of the shipment.
The difference between the light and the heavy weight is called payload, or the actual weight, or the Net Weight of the shipment. The tariff is then applied to it to determine the cost.
In case the binding estimate was provided and the actual weight is higher than the binding estimate, the customer is only responsible for the estimated weight, or lesser amount.
Most movers have a minimum weight requirements. If actual weight comes in lighter than the minimum weight, the customer is responsible to pay the minimum amount stated on the bill of lading.
Your mover must retain all true copies of both weight tickets from certified scales. The customer can be present at both weighing. If customer was not present at the weighings and disagrees with the weight, he has the right to request a reweigh (before the shipment was offloaded) at no additional cost to customer. If after reweigh there is a difference in Net Weight, the mover must adjust the price according to the tariff.
Damages and losses are an unfortunate part of moving business. Regardless of how reputable or experiences the mover, no one is guaranteed from some minor or even major damages happening during relocation process. Therefore, you must know what mover's liabilities are and how much coverage they provide. And you need to know exactly what to do in case the unfortunate happens.
If your goods are lost or damaged be sure to describe such loss or damage by making notations on the mover's contract, bill of lading and inventory form. In case your driver refuses to do so, be certain to make pictures as the item is being unwrapped, and report this to the mover's main office by calling them at the time of unload and later after you have a chance to inspect entire shipment in writing to the home office of the mover, attention your representative, a manager of the office and their claims department. Neither of these actions constitute an official claim, but are made to support a claim to be files later, as described below.
FILING A CLAIM
If you intend to file an official claim for loss or damage to your goods, be aware that one of the required documents in support of your claim is a copy of your freight paid bill (contract, or bill of lading). This means that before you file a claim with mover for loss or damage to your property, you must pay mover for all charges due for transportation services provided to you by your moving company. This is important because filing a claim for loss or damage to your goods is a separate issue from the performance of and payment for the transportation service itself. If you do not pay for transportation charges, the mover may not honor your claim.
To file an official claim you must do the following:
If the damaged occurred to a packed item, you should retain the box, contents, and packing materials. This is especially important if you packed the box yourself. Since you will have to show that the bad packing wasn't the reason for the damaged item.
Provide copies of documents, such as store receipts for the lost or damaged article and professional estimates for repair will expedite the process of the claim.
You should retain the copies of all the correspondence with mover, which should be made by certified mail. Request return receipts to evidence the receipt of the claim by your mover.
You must file the claim with your mover no later than nine (9) months of the delivery of your shipment.
Your mover is required to acknowledge the receipt of your claim with in thirty (30) days of its receipt. And your mover is required to pay, decline to pay, or make a firm compromise settlement with in sixty (60) days with in receipt of the claim. If there is some reason beyond mover's control delays their action for a longer time, the mover is supposed to notify you, the customer in writing with in sixty (60) days as to claims status and the reason for the delay and again every thirty (30) days until the final action is taken.
If the offer you receive is not satisfactory, you may file an arbitration with the arbitrators specializing in transportation and household moving industry, or file a small claims case with the local court of the city where the movers were originally hired and the move was commenced.
Dogs and cats are most popular pets in America. Each pet reacts different to a change of place of living. But this time as stressful for them as you. Here are some tips:
Take your time. Stretch out your packing time over several weeks. Avoid panic in the last days, leaving moving day as relaxed as possible for you and your pets.
Make travel arrangements. If your move involves air travel, contact airline carriers one month in advance. Ask about their pet regulations, and make reservations.
Choose a nonstop flight to avoid extra handling and climate and air-pressure changes.
Visit your veterinarian. A couple weeks before moving, request a copy of veterinary records, a rabies vaccination certificate, and a health certificate. Be sure your pets are up to date with their shots. If your pet is a senior or has health problems, ask whether a mild sedative would be advisable before travel. Can your vet recommend another in your new location? For out-of-state moves, contact the State Department of Animal Husbandry or the state veterinarian about entry regulationsalmost all states have entry laws for most animals except tropical fish.
Don't change much... Keep your pets' routines, such as feedings and walks, as normal as possible in the week before moving. Because dogs and cats need to feel in control, they might exhibit behavioral changes or even become ill when stressed. Treat them with the same level of attention you would ordinarily give them.
Make a pet room. A few days before moving, choose a small room to be the "pet room." Tape a sign to the door that says "Pets: Do Not Open." Make the sign large enough that friends or movers can see it easily. Move food and water bowls, as well as toys, into this room. Provide dogs and cats with sturdy carriers equipped with litter-box (for cats), chew toys, or favorite objects that have a familiar smell. Leave carrier doors open so pets can adapt to them before travel day. On moving day, keep animals in their carriers. As an alternative, consider boarding dogs and cats, or ask a friend or family member to care-take your dogs during the last few days.
Get tags and leashes. If you have a dog or an indoor/outdoor cat, buy or create identification tags with your new address and phone number. Be sure your pets are wearing them during travel.
If you're traveling by car, keep cats and dogs in carriers large enough to accommodate food and water bowls plus a small litter box for Fluffy. Stop about every two hours to give larger pets some fresh air. Be sure to use a leash if you let your cat out. Maintain a comfortable car temperature for all pets, and don't ever leave animals alone in a car on a hot day. Even with the windows cracked, this can be fatal. Birds and other small pets (hamsters, guinea pigs, and the like) are especially susceptible to drafts and heat. Cover cages to keep animals calm and well protected, and remove water bottles except during rest-stop water breaks.
Check list for pet travel:
• Veterinary records, certificates, and recent photos
• Your pets' usual foods and plenty of water from the home you're leaving (changing their water source can be disorienting and upset their stomachs)
• Food and water bowls, a can opener, and resealable lids
• Toys, chew bones, and treats
• Leashes for cats and dogs
• Beds (pillows, towels, or other crate liners)
• Plastic bags and scoops for dogs
• Litterbox for cats
• Cage covers for birds and rodents
• Paper towels for messes
• Provisions for the first day at the new home
More information on traveling tips for pets.
And finally is your pet travel ready?
A lot more information on www.humanesociety.org
Moving industry is governed by California Public Utilities Commission (PUC) for in state moves and by Department of Transportation (DOT) for out of state moves. Both agencies require similar protection plans.
Both in California and out of state licensed movers must offer customers basic protection coverage at no cost. Unfortunately, not many customers fully understand what that protection plan really covers and what other options are available to them at extra cost.
Be sure to check any insurance policies you have before paying for additional protection. If you don't fully understand them ask your insurance agent.
The mover can charge you for the level of protection and the value you place on your goods.
Actual Cash Value Protection covers the depreciated value of your goods and is determined by such things as the cost of items, its age, its condition when received by mover, and the value you declare.
Full Value protection usually costs more, since it will cover the replacement cost of lost, or damaged article. The mover may opt to replace, reimburse, or repair the damaged item based on the protection you choose. Remember to declare articles of extraordinary value. If you fail to do so, the mover may not be liable for the full value of those items, regardless of the level of protection you chose.
In addition, your goods are protected while they are stored in transit at your request, and mover can charge additional premium for that service. However, if the storage in transit for the convenience of mover, you will not be charged for this additional protection.
The Agreement includes a section "Consumer Protection and Waivers" on which you are supposed to declare the value of your shipment and choose a level of protection. If you fail to do so, your items will automatically revert to basic coverage at 60 cents per pound per article. If you choose the level of protection but fail to declare the value of your shipment, mover will cover your shipment at level up to $20,000.
Here are the three levels of protection:
BASIC COVERAGE at 60 cents per pound per article insures recovery of 60 cents multiplied by the weight of the item or the carton/box it was packed in. Thus, if an item weighing 50 pounds will recover $30.00 (.60 x 50 = $30). This is the minimal protection available to customers at no additional charge.
ACTUAL CASH VALUE protection ensures recovery at the actual cash value (i.e. fair market value), upto the total value you declare. The mover will charge a premium for this protection, and will state the rate on the Agreement.
FULL VALUE protection insures recovery of full value of item (i.e. replacement value) of your lost or damaged article, up to the full value you declared. The mover may offer deductibles for Full Value protection. You are responsible for the item, unless the item is lost by the mover. The mover will charge for full value protection and will state its rates on the Agreement.
Unfortunately, moving related damages are part of relocation business. Regardless of mover's previous reputation and overall experience, no one is guaranteed against damages. Customers need to have proper levels of valuation coverage. So that in case of loss or damage to items they can file a claim, based on the value of the items, not it's weight.
Here is what you need to do to properly file a claim.
To file a claim you must follow these steps:
1. Write a letter to the home office of your carrier;
2. List separately the lost or damaged items;
3. Note the exact amount for each separate item;
4. Give the date of your move, the pickup and delivery locations and contract number;
- If the damage is to packed item, you should retain the box and it's contents and packing materials. This is especially important if you packed boxes yourself. Since you will have to show that bad packing was not the reason for the damaged items.
- Providing copies of documents such as store receipts for the lost or damaged items and professional estimates for repair will speed up the process of the claim.
- You should also retain all copies of correspondence with the mover. All correspondence should be made by certified mail. Return receipt requested, to evidence of receipt of the claim by mover.
- Your claim should be filed, with in 9 (nine) months of the delivery of your shipment.
- The mover is required to acknowledge claim in writing with in 30 (thirty) days. And mover must pay, decline to pay, or make a firm compromise settlement within 60 days within receipt of your claim. If some reason beyond movers control delays action for a longer time, the mover is required notify customer in writing within 60 days as to claims status and the reason for the delay and again every 30 days until the final action is taken.