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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.