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Tips for being an informed consumer when moving

How to choose your mover

In this period where moves are numerous, some people decide to improvise themselves as movers by publishing an ad on social networks or on classifieds websites. They often provide, as only information, a phone number. You must be careful when choosing a mover.

  • Ideally, choose a company that is well known and avoid these classified ads. Make sure you have a reliable way to trace the company in case of a problem.
  • Make sure your mover has a heavy truck license from the Commission des Transports du Québec. This is mandatory.
  • Check to see if any complaints or convictions have been filed against the company with the Office de la protection du consommateur.
  • Make sure the mover has a good damage insurance policy including civil liability for at least 1 million dollars. Note the name of the insurance company and the policy number.
  • Get quotes from 2 or 3 movers. Check with friends and family to see if they can recommend any companies.

To avoid being surprised by the price of the move

  • Get quotes from 2 or 3 movers to compare prices. Store around as much as possible.
  • Give details. The more specific you are, the more accurate the estimate the mover will give you (specify the distance between the two apartments, the floors where the units are located, if there is an elevator, if you have valuable, heavy or fragile items, etc.). In this time of pandemic, check to see if there are any COVID fees that could be added to the bill.
  • Ask questions. Number of movers required, size of truck, estimated number of hours required (usually 1 hour per room). Check the company’s policies.
  • Demand that the company provide a detailed written contract including all statements made. If the contract is made over the phone or internet, the company must provide you with a written contract within 15 days of the contract being made.
  • Ask about payment terms. Always pay the smallest amount possible if a deposit is required.

 

On the day of the move

  • Make the payment on the day of the move. If the company tries to charge you more than agreed upon, you can refuse to pay the extra fee. You can also pay the full amount under protest. This means that you intend to dispute the amount paid. In this case, write “under protest” on the check or invoice. Note that the mover does not have the right to hold your belongings until full payment is made if he or she demands payment of additional charges that were not included in the contract.
  • Ask for a detailed receipt with the mover’s name and address.
  • Cross out “Delivered in good condition” if it is on a document to be signed and replace it with “Subject to future inspection” if you do not have the opportunity to inspect the goods before the movers leave. If you notice any damage to the goods, take pictures.

Remedies for broken goods, late movers, no-shows, charging more than expected, etc.

  • Try to negotiate with the mover.
  • Send a demand letter. Summarize the problem and indicate the compensation desired.
  • File a claim in Small Claims Court (or Court of Quebec Civil Division if you are claiming more than $15,000) if the demand letter is not answered.
  • File a complaint with the Office de la protection du consommateur.

For more information, contact us.