Consumer Rights & Responsibilities

Understand your rights and responsibilities when moving with a professional mover.

Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move

    Tariff Inspection
    Introduction
    Moving Estimates
    Bill of Lading
    Inventory
    Shipments Subject to Minimum Weight
    Determining the Weight of Your Shipment
        Origin Weighing
        Destination Weighing
        Reweighing of Shipments
    Picking up and Delivering Shipments on the Agreed Dates
    Notification of Charges
    Receipt for Delivery of the Shipment
    The Mover's Liability for Loss and Damage
        Released Weight Liability
        Replacement Cost Coverage
    Complaints and Inquiries about the Mover's Service
    Payment of the Transportation Charges
    Filing of Claims for Loss and Damage or Delay
    Points to Remember
    Conclusion

TARIFF INSPECTION
Shippers may inspect the tariffs that govern your shipment. Carriers' tariffs are made a part of the contract of carriage (bill of lading) between you and the carrier and may be inspected at carrier's facility. The tariff contains the carrier's rates, rules or charges governing your shipment, the terms of which cannot be varied.

Incorporated tariff provisions include but are not limited to (1.) establishing limitation of carrier's liability, the principal features of which are described in the Uniform conditions of Carriage on the back of the bill of lading; (2.) setting the time periods for filing claims, and, (3.) reserving the carrier's right to assess additional charges for additional moving services performed and to base charges upon the exact weight of the goods transported.

INTRODUCTION
Federal and Provincial Consumer Protection Regulations protect consumers on interprovincial and intraprovincial moving and define the rights and responsibilities of consumers and household goods carriers (movers).

Industry Canada's Consumer Checklist can be found on their website www.consumer.ic.gc.ca. This checklist provides information about your rights and responsibilities as a shipper of household goods. You should talk to your mover if you have further questions.

MOVING ESTIMATES
A Moving Consultant will attend your residence, and prepare a detailed list of what is to be shipped, and any additional services ordered, such as packing and Replacement Value Protection. The cost of the move will be based on the scaled weight of your shipment, the distance traveled, and the additional services performed.

An estimate is not a bid or contract. It is provided by the mover to give you a general idea of the cost of the move, but it does not bind the mover to the estimated cost. Furthermore, it is not a guarantee that the final cost will not be more than the estimate. The actual cost will be in accordance with the mover's published tariffs.

The mover cannot require you to pay more than the amount of the original estimate, plus 10 percent, at time of delivery. You will then have at least 30 days after delivery to pay any remaining moving charges.

IF YOU REQUEST THE MOVER TO PROVIDE MORE SERVICES THAN THOSE INCLUDED IN THE ESTIMATE, THE MOVER MAY DEMAND FULL PAYMENT FOR THOSE ADDED SERVICES AT TIME OF DELIVERY.

BILL OF LADING
The bill of lading is the contract between you and the mover. The mover is required by law to prepare a bill of lading for every shipment it transports. The driver who loads your shipment must give you a copy of the bill of lading before loading your furniture.

IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO READ THE BILL OF LADING BEFORE YOU SIGN AND ACCEPT IT. PRIOR TO THE DRIVER COMMENCING TO LOAD, YOU MUST DECLARE THE VALUE OF YOUR SHIPMENT IN YOUR OWN HANDWRITING ON THE FACE OF THE BILL OF LADING. The reverse side of the bill of lading contains the Uniform Conditions of Carriage, some of which limit the liability of the carrier.

The bill of lading requires the mover to provide the service you have requested, and you must pay the charges for the service. THE BILL OF LADING IS AN IMPORTANT DOCUMENT. DO NOT LOSE OR MISPLACE YOUR COPY. Have it available until your shipment is delivered, all charges are paid and all claims, if any, are settled.

INVENTORY
At the time the mover's driver loads your shipment, he or she will, prepare an inventory of your shipment, listing any damage or unusual wear. The purpose is to make a record of the condition of each item upon acceptance by the carrier.

After completing the inventory, the driver will usually sign each page and ask you to sign each page. It is important before signing that you make sure that the inventory lists every item in your shipment and that the entries regarding the condition of each item are correct. You have the right to note any disagreement. When your shipment is delivered, if an item is missing or damaged, your ability to recover from the mover for any loss or damage may depend on the notations made.

The driver will give you a copy of each page of the inventory. Attach the complete inventory to your copy of the bill of lading. It is your receipt for the goods.

At the time your shipment is delivered, it is your responsibility to check the items delivered against the items listed on your inventory. If new damage is discovered, make a record of it on the inventory form. Call the damage to the attention of the driver and request that a record of the damage be made on the driver's copy of the inventory.

After the complete shipment is unloaded, the driver will request that you sign the driver's copy of the inventory to show that you received the items listed. Do not sign until you have assured yourself that it is accurate and that proper notations have been entered regarding any missing or damaged items. When you sign the inventory, you are giving the driver a receipt for your goods.

SHIPMENTS SUBJECT TO MINIMUM WEIGHT
Movers usually have a minimum weight or volume charge for transporting a shipment. Usually the minimum is the charge for transporting a shipment of at least 500 pounds (227 kilograms).

DETERMINING THE WEIGHT OF YOUR SHIPMENT
ORIGIN WEIGHING
If your shipment is weighed in the city or area from which you are moving, the driver is required to weigh the moving truck on which the shipment is to be transported before coming to your residence. This is called the tare weight. At the time of this first weighing the moving truck may already be partially loaded with one or more other shipments. This will not affect the weight of your shipment. The truck should also contain the pads, dollies, hand-trucks, ramps, and other equipment normally used in moving household goods.

After loading, the moving truck will be weighed again to obtain the loaded weight, called the gross weight. The net weight of your shipment is then obtained by subtracting the tare weight from the gross weight.

Each time a weighing is performed the driver is required to obtain a weight ticket showing the date and place of weighing and the weight obtained. The ticket must also have your name and shipment number entered on it, along with the identification (I.D.) numbers of the moving truck. The ticket must be signed by the person who performed the weighing. If both the empty (tare) and loaded (gross) weighings are performed on the same scale, the record of both weighings may be entered on one weight ticket.

You have the right to observe every weighing. The mover is required to inform you of the specific location of each scale that will be used and to allow you a reasonable opportunity to be present. If you desire to observe either or both of the weighings, you should tell the mover at the time the moving estimate is prepared or, in any event, before the date of your move. This will enable the mover to contact you before the weighing to advise you of the location of the scale.

REWEIGHING OF SHIPMENTS
If you believe that the weight is not accurate, you have the right to request that the shipment be reweighed before unloading.

To validate the scaled weight of your shipment, count the number of items in your shipment. Usually there will be either 30 or 40 items listed on each page of the inventory. For example, if there are 30 items per page and your inventory consists of four complete pages and a fifth page with 15 items listed, the total number of items will be 135. Divide the number of items in your shipment into the weight. If the average weight resulting from this exercise ranges between 35 and 45 pounds (16 and 20 kilograms) per article, it is unlikely that a reweigh will prove beneficial to you and could result in your paying higher charges.

Experience has shown that the average shipment of household goods will weigh about 40 pounds (18 kilograms) per item. If a shipment contains a large number of heavy items, such as cartons of books, boxes of tools or heavier than average furniture, the average weight per item may be 45 pounds (20 kilograms) or more.

PICKING UP AND DELIVERING SHIPMENTS ON THE AGREED DATES
You and your mover must reach agreement as to when your shipment is to be picked up and delivered. It is your responsibility to determine on what date, or between what dates, you need to have the shipment picked up and on what date or between what dates, you require delivery. It is the mover's responsibility to tell you if the service can be provided on or between those dates or, if not, on what other dates the service can be provided. In the process of reaching an agreement with a mover, it may be necessary for you to alter your moving and travel plans if no mover can provide service on the specific dates you desire. Do not agree to have your shipment picked up or delivered as soon as possible. The dates or periods of time you and the mover agree on should be definite.

Once an agreement is reached, the mover is required to enter those dates on bill of lading.

If, after the pickup of your shipment, you request the mover to change the delivery date, most movers will agree to do so providing your request will not result in unreasonable delay to their equipment or interfere with another customer's move. However, the mover is not required to consent to amended delivery dates and has the right to place your shipment in storage at your expense if you are unwilling or unable to accept delivery on the date(s) agreed to in the bill of lading.

If the mover fails to pick up and deliver your shipment on the dates entered on the bill of lading and you may claim for accommodation and meal expenses you otherwise would not have incurred. While it is hoped that your shipment will not be delayed, you should consider this possibility and find out before you agree for a mover to transport your shipment what payment you can expect if the service is delayed through the fault of the mover.

NOTIFICATION OF CHARGES
You must advise the mover at the time you make the arrangements for the move if you wish to be notified of the weight and moving charges. You are required to give the mover a telephone number or address at which the notification will be received.

The mover must notify you of the charges at least one 24-hour weekday prior to the delivery, unless the shipment is to be delivered the day after pickup.

RECEIPT FOR DELIVERY OF THE SHIPMENT
At the time of delivery, the mover expects you to sign a receipt for your shipment. This is accomplished by having you sign the carrier's copy of the bill of lading and each page of the mover's copy of the inventory.

Movers are prohibited from having you sign a receipt which relieves the mover from all liability for loss or damage to the shipment. Do not sign any receipt which does not provide that you are signing for your shipment in apparent good condition except as noted on the shipping documents.

THE MOVER'S LIABILITY FOR LOSS AND DAMAGE
All moving companies are required to assume liability for the value of the goods which they transport. However, there are two different levels of liability, and consumers should be aware of the amount of protection provided and the charges for each option. RELEASED RATE LIABILITY By law, all household goods carriers are subject to a basic liability of $0.60 per pound per article. This level of protection is included in the normal cost of your move without any additional charge. As the example overleaf illustrates, this Released Rate Liability is usually far below the true value of any household article and a Released Rate shipment is generally made only by people that do have alternative insurance arrangements.

It is worth mentioning that normal insurance policies carried by householders are designed to protect furniture and personal effects within a residence and seldom offer adequate protection for the different circumstances involved in these same items being shipped from one place to another.

Check with your own Insurance Agent. If he does offer you insurance for your move, make sure it is on an All Risks basis and then we suggest you check the premium with the cost of securing equivalent coverage from the mover.

REPLACEMENT COST PROTECTION
"Replacement Cost" means the cost, at the time of the loss, destruction or damage, of repairing or replacing (whichever is the lesser) with as good as, or like kind and quality, without deduction for depreciation. It is the simplest and least technical loss settlement that a mover could offer you and also much better for you financially.

However, there are exceptions to Replacement Cost Protection. On some items, the Carrier's maximum liability will be the market value of the item at time and place of loss, or the cost of repair, whichever is less. For example, Replacement Cost Protection shall not apply to property, which at the time of loss, has become obsolete or unusable for its originally intended purpose, or shall not apply to antiques, fine arts, paintings, statuary and similar articles, which by their inherent nature, cannot be replaced.

Replacement Cost Protection is also not applicable to motor vehicles, including, but not limited to, automobiles, trucks, vans, etc., watercraft, including but not limited to boats, canoes, etc., and aircraft, including but not limited to airplanes, balloons, etc. In all of the foregoing examples, the lesser of the repairs or the market value of the item will apply.

The Moving Contract requires that you make a declaration of value in your own handwriting in the space provided on the Bill of Lading. Current Moving Industry experience indicates that the replacement value of average quality furniture and personal effects is in the range of $10.00 to $12.00 per pound of the actual weight of a shipment of household goods. If your furniture and effects are above average quality, carefully consider declaring an amount sufficient to cover your shipment on a replacement basis including taxes.

Carrier Liability - Claims Settlement

The following example illustrates your claim settlement, depending upon which of the two options you have selected.

  • Your television set is dropped. You bought it four years ago for $700.00. To buy its equivalent today will cost $725.00. It weighs 30 pounds.
RELEASED RATE SETTLEMENT

  • At $0.60 per pound, per article the Carrier pays the cost of repairing or replacing the television set to a maximum of $18.00 (i.e. 30 lb @ $0.60 per pound per article)./li>


REPLACEMENT COST PROTECTION

The Carrier pays the cost of repair, or, if repairs are not possible, you would be paid $725.00 for a replacement T.V. of like kind and quality. In the case of a cash settlement for the replacement of an irreparable article, the article becomes the property of the carrier for its salvage value.

The foregoing is for the purpose of illustrating claims settlement on the basis of Released Rate Liability and Replacement Cost Protection. A serious highway accident or fire could result in the total destruction of your property.

The Mover you select should be concerned that you are properly protected to a maximum of the actual cost of replacing all of your furniture and personal belongings.

MOVING CONTRACT EXCLUSIONS TO LIABILITY
The settlement of your claim is subject to the conditions of carriage which are printed on the reverse side of the Bill of Lading. There are a number of exclusions to liability whether you purchase Replacement Cost Protection or Released Rate Liability. Please take the time to read them and ask your Moving Consultant if you have any questions. One of the important exclusions to Carrier Liability that we wish to bring to your attention is as follows:

Articles of Extraordinary Value

No carrier is bound to carry any documents, specie or any articles of extraordinary value unless by a special agreement to do so. If such goods are carried without a special agreement and the nature of the goods is not disclosed on the face of the Bill of Lading, the carrier shall not be liable for any loss or damage.

The following articles should not be included in your shipment and should be carried on your person: documents, currency, money, jewelry, watches, precious stones, or articles of extraordinary value including accounts, bills, deeds, evidence of debt, securities, notes, postage stamps, stamp or coin collections, revenue stamps, letters or packets of letters, articles of peculiarly inherent value, precious metals or articles manufactured therefrom.

COMPLAINTS AND INQUIRIES ABOUT THE MOVER'S SERVICE
All movers are expected to respond promptly to complaints or inquiries from their customers. Should you have a complaint or question about your move, you should first attempt to obtain a satisfactory response from the mover's local agent, the sales representative who handled the arrangements for your move, or the driver assigned to your shipment.

If for any reason you are unable to obtain a satisfactory response from one of these persons, you should then contact the mover's principal office or the Van Line to which the Mover is affiliated. When you make such a call, be sure to have available your copies of all the documents relating to the move. Particularly important is the number assigned to your shipment by the mover.

PAYMENT OF THE TRANSPORTATION CHARGES
At the time for payment of transportation charges, the mover is required to give you a freight bill identifying the service provided and the charge for each moving service.

If your shipment was transported on a collect on delivery (COD) basis, you will be expected to pay the total charges appearing on the bill of lading at the time of delivery.

It is customary for movers to provide in their tariffs that charges must be paid in cash or certified cheque. At the time you make arrangements for moving, you should ask the mover about the form of payment that is acceptable.

Some movers permit payment of charges by use of a charge card. However, do not assume that because you have a nationally recognized charge or credit card that it will be acceptable for payment. Ask the mover at the time the arrangements are made.

If you do not pay the transportation charges at the time of delivery the mover has the right under the bill of lading to refuse to deliver your goods. The mover may place them in storage at your expense until the charges are paid.

Movers customarily audit all shipment files and bills of lading after a move has been completed to make sure the moving charges were accurate. If an overcharge is found, you will be notified and a refund made. If an undercharge occurred, you will be billed for the additional moving charges due.

FILING OF CLAIMS FOR LOSS AND DAMAGE OR DELAY
Should your move result in loss or damage to any of your property, you have the right to file a claim with the mover to recover money for such loss or damage.

You have 60 days following either the date of delivery, or in the case of failure to make delivery, within nine months after the date on which the shipment should have been delivered, to file a claim.


POINTS TO REMEMBER
  • Specify pickup and delivery dates on the bill of lading.
  • The Bill of Lading is your contract with the mover... READ IT CAREFULLY... If you have any questions ask your mover.
  • Be sure that you understand the extent of your mover's liability for loss and damage.
  • You have the right to be present each time your shipment is weighed.
  • You may request a reweigh of your shipment.
  • If you have moved on a COD basis, you should have enough cash or a certified cheque to pay the estimated cost of your move plus 10 percent more at time of delivery.
  • Unresolved claims for loss or damage may be submitted to Small Claims Court.
CONCLUSION
Should you have any questions about your move which have not been covered in the foregoing information, do not hesitate to ask the mover's representative who handled the arrangements for your move, or the mover's main office or Van Line for additional information.

For further advice or assistance, contact INDUSTRY CANADA at www.consumer.ic.gc.ca; the Better Business Bureau at www.bbb.org or the Canadian Association of Movers at www.mover.net