Many people move each year, hiring moving companies and renting storage facilities. Before choosing a mover, you should verify the mover’s license. For interstate moves, you should check with the United States Department of Transportation. For moves within New York, you should check with the Commissioner of Transportation.
Also, try to get more than one estimate for the move. It is best to have the mover come to your home ahead of time to view your belongings and furnishings. Remember to show them items in closets, attics, storage areas and garages. Then, you should get a written estimate. A binding estimate is best. With a binding estimate, the final cost for the move can only be higher than the estimate if you have agreed to pay more. The moving company may charge you a fee for a binding estimate, but it could save you money in the end. A mover cannot charge for a non-binding estimate, but it is a non-guaranteed price. You could end up paying a lot more than the estimate.
For interstate moves, the final price depends on the actual weight of your items on the truck. To get your belongings back after the move, you will have to pay the estimated cost, plus 10%. You must pay any remaining balance within 30 days. If you do not pay the estimated cost plus 10%, the mover can place your belongings in storage until you pay. The mover can then charge fees for storage and re-delivery. Interstate moves require you to receive a “Your Rights & Responsibilities When You Move” document.
For moves within New York, the final cost depends on the amount of time the move takes. You will pay the estimated price, plus 25%, and the balance will be due within 15 days. If you cannot pay the estimate plus 25%, the mover may place your items in a storage facility and charge extra fees.
You also may want to pay extra for a fixed move-in date. Otherwise, the mover will offer you a range of dates. You should not assume the moving company is going to deliver your items as soon as possible. Avoid moving companies who claim they can do the move at a much lower rate than other movers. Some moving companies will give you a very low non-binding estimate. Then the amount may double or triple when your items are delivered. Also, some companies subcontract your move out to an unlicensed moving company. These subcontractors often pick up many other loads along the way. This could delay your delivery for days or even weeks.
Legal Editors: Mark Grossman, Esq. and Edward E. Klein, Esq., May 2018
Changes may occur in this area of law. The information provided is brought to you as a public service with the help and assistance of volunteer legal editors, and is intended to help you better understand the law in general. It is not intended to be legal advice regarding your particular problem or to substitute for the advice of a lawyer.