Whether you use a moving company or move yourself, the documentation that accompanies your move is important. Don’t lose any of it. And don’t pack it with your stuff. Keep the written estimate, whether binding or non-binding. Make sure it is signed by both you and a representative of the moving company.
As the shipper, you are entitled to have a copy of the Order For Service, which is the document the mover will prepare for your shipment. It will contain such information as the dates you’ve requested for your move, the nature of the goods to be moved, the valuation you’ve selected and any special services that have been agreed to. The Order For Service will also specify the amount of the binding or non-binding estimate and the terms of payment.
Although the Order For Service is not an actual contract, both you and the moving company must sign this document.
Changes may be made to the Order For Service prior to the move, but these amendments should also be signed. The Bill of Lading is a contract between you and the moving company. The mover must prepare a Bill of Lading and give you a copy before loading your goods.
This document signifies the mover’s receipt of your goods and the transportation services the mover has agreed to provide. It will include the valuation of your shipment and the extent of the mover’s liability, the dates on which the goods are to be picked up and delivered and any special services you have requested. It will also specify the terms of payment.
This is the most important of all the documents associated with your move. It is your responsibility to understand it; don’t sign it until you do. If you have questions, ask them. Don’t lose the Bill of Lading and don’t send it with your stuff in the truck. Keep it with you. Consider making a copy and leaving it with a reliable friend or relative. Inventory If you are having your stuff packed by a moving company, a detailed inventory will be prepared as the packing is being performed.
Then the cartons and separate items (usually appliances and larger furniture) will be listed as they’re loaded onto the truck. If you’ve packed yourself, the mover will take inventory as the goods are loaded onto the truck. In both instances, you and the mover should make note of any damage and the bottom of each page of the inventory list should be signed. Take the time to ensure that the inventory is accurate and that there aren’t any omissions.
Retain a copy of the inventory. At the delivery point, inspect all the goods as they’re unloaded. Make sure that any damaged or missing items are noted on both copies of the inventory. Even though you may be tired and want to get the move over with, don’t sign the inventory until you’re entirely satisfied, because you’re signing for receipt of your goods and their condition.
If you tell the mover about damaged or lost goods later, it will be much more difficult to prove your claim.