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Hiring a Moving Company

The period between Memorial Day and Labor Day is the peak season for barbeques, trips to the Jersey Shore and other warm-weather activities. It is also the preferred time when many families choose to move.

An estimated 1.5 million households relocate each year in America. Moving companies report that summer is their busiest time, as many families with children choose to wait until the school year is over in order to reduce disruptions.

Selecting a moving company may seem a small matter compared to arranging for the sale of your existing home, purchase of your new residence, employment issues, and the other details involved in relocating. But hiring a dependable mover can mean the difference between an uncomplicated or a stressful experience.

All companies conducting moves within New Jersey are required to be registered with the Regulated Business Unit of the Division of Consumer Affairs. There are over 300 movers licensed by Consumer Affairs. Before hiring a moving company, you can check to see if a particular company is licensed and how many consumer complaints have been filed against the company. Call the Regulated Business Unit at 973-504-6442 or 973-504-6512.

In 2003, Consumer Affairs received 98 consumer complaints about moving and storage companies.

By law, movers must provide consumers with written estimates. For moves within New Jersey, state law requires that the estimate be based on a visual survey of the items to be moved, not a verbal description of them. The moving company is required to give you a written estimate that explains how the overall cost is calculated. The estimate is binding on the mover only when it is written on the front of the document that it is binding.

We recommend soliciting three to five moving companies before making a final decision.

You will be asked about purchasing insurance as part of the hiring process. Without additional insurance, moving companies are required to compensate you up to 60 cents per pound for any item that is damaged or destroyed during the move. You may purchase insurance through the mover or on your own through a broker. You should also check your homeowner’s insurance policy to see if moves are covered.

After a moving company is selected, make sure the written contract matches all terms of the written estimate. The contract, as well as all other important papers and jewelry, should not be packed with your belongings but instead carried separately during the move.

Once you arrive at your new residence, inspect for any damage that may have occurred during the move. If any damage or loss of items has occurred, you can file a claim with the mover within 90 days. If the claim is not resolved to your satisfaction, contact Consumer Affairs at 973-504-6442 or 973-504-6512.

It is estimated that each of us will move and relocate about 12 times during our lives. Knowing your rights and responsibilities will help make each move a more pleasant journey.

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