Know Your Rights: Filing a Complaint Against a Moving Company

In this article, you’ll learn the proper steps to file a complaint with your moving company. We’ll guide you through the entire complaint process, from your first time logging into the Department of Transportation’s website, all the way to following up accordingly.

How to File a Complaint Against a Moving Company

Moving is an exciting time for most people. It marks the beginning of a new chapter in their lives in a new area! On the flip side, it can also be a nightmare that you dread every second of.

It all comes down to your experience with a moving company, and there’s no worse feeling than going through this entire process only to feel ripped off.

Thankfully, if this is you, we’re here to guide you through filing a complaint with your moving company. We’ll walk through your rights, how to file a complaint, and how to follow up and resolve the issue.

How to File the Complaint

1. Gather information: Collect relevant information on the Department of Transportation website. You need to gather information about the following:

  • Moving Company Details: You’ll need to first find the name of the moving company you’re filing a complaint with. Then, look back and find the date and time you ordered their services. Group together any relevant documentation, such as receipts, invoices, or photos of your stuff that got damaged on the move.
  • Details of the Complaint: You need to document the complaint itself, the time it occurred, and any damage that occurred during your moving process.

2. File The Complaint Itself: The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s website allows you to file your complaint through the “file a complaint” section of the website. You’ll need to enter the following information; The name of your moving company, the USDOT number, and a brief explanation of why you filed the complaint. It’s important to keep your explanation short and sweet, only leaving in relevant details to the case.

3. Tracking Your Complaint: You’ll receive a tracking number to track your report after submitting your complaint. You can then track the status of your complaint to see what stage of the investigation process your moving company is in.

4. Use Your Resources: The Department of Transportation (DOT) offers resources to help you further understand your rights during the moving process to prevent any issues from happening in the future.

5. Document Everything: Remember, if you don’t document it, it didn’t happen. It’s important to keep a copy of any document relevant to your complaint, including emails, texts, and forms. 

6. Consider Legal Action: If either end of the agreement is not met, consider consulting with a lawyer and taking further action in court.

When To File a Complaint

A complaint should be submitted if your moving company violates any of the following:

  • Late Delivery: If your moving company fails to uphold its end of the contract by delivering your belongings.
  • Stolen Items: If you discover missing items upon delivery and think your moving company is responsible.
  • Unexpected Charges: If your total cost doesn’t match the conditions of your contract, it may be a good idea to consider filing a complaint.
  • Unlawful Possession of Belongings: Your moving company holds your items until you pay a higher price.

Understanding Your Rights

One of the most important things to have when filing a complaint with a moving company is a strong understanding of what your rights are while working with them. 

You are entitled to the following rights when working with a moving company.

  • Transparency: The moving company should provide transparent information about what they offer, their rates, and any additional charges that may occur.
  • Fair Treatment: You have the right to be treated appropriately by your moving company and any staff you work with.
  • Safety and Security: Your moving company is responsible for ensuring your belongings arrive safely and undamaged at their destination. 
  • Estimate: Before you move, receive a written estimate from the moving company. This estimate should serve as a rough outline of the entire cost of service. 
  • On-Time Delivery: The moving company is responsible for delivering your belongings on time and in perfect condition.
  • Privacy: The moving company must privately handle your privacy and information.
  • Cancellation: You have the right to cancel your contract with the moving company within the timeframe stated in the contract.

When should you leave a negative review instead of a complaint?

If you experience poor customer service, technical difficulties when ordering, or below-average service, you may want to consider leaving a review instead.

For larger, more significant issues such as unexpected charges, stolen items, and unlawful possession of your belongings, you should file a complaint.

Especially when moving long distances, it’s important to understand these rights so you can receive the proper service from your moving company. If you’re moving long distances, check out this article to learn more about how to have the best experience possible.

Dealing With The Resolution

Smoothly dealing with the resolution process is the final - yet most important step of filing your complaint with a moving company. It's important that you do everything you can to cooperate with the investigation. Store any relevant documentation in a folder that you can easily access in the event you need it.

Then, make sure you’re following up promptly and making sure that the investigation is making progress. The time it will take to process the complaint may vary, so don’t get stressed if it takes a bit of time.

It’s important to be patient and allow the investigation to take the necessary steps to be resolved.

Once the moving company responds with a resolution proposal, it’s essential to carefully review the terms and conditions laid out in the document.

If you are unsatisfied or unsure of the details of the resolution proposal, seek legal advice. Once the resolution proposal is in place, ensure all parties fulfill their required duties outlined in the resolution.

Stay Safe Next Time

Moving is a stressful yet exciting process. For many, it marks a new chapter in their lives. It’s important that you, as the mover, understand your rights, their responsibilities while working with you, and how to take action if those responsibilities are violated. We know how stressful moving can be, and nothing’s worse than dealing with the stress of moving and a poor moving company experience.

We hope this article provided a helpful tool in your moving journey. We hope the information outlined in this article allows you to understand better your rights and what to expect when working with moving companies. Cheers to new chapters in life in new, exciting places!

Tommy Loutzenheiser

Meet Tommy, a writer from San Diego, California with a passion for interior design and moving! Coming from a family of interior designers from San Diego, he’s been involved in the world of moving and helping to create beautiful homes for the places people move to. He’s also moved over ten times in various states such as California, Washington, and Arizona! Through these moves, he’s worked with a variety of moving companies, and prides himself on knowing what to look for and how to have the safest, smoothest move possible! For the past few years, he’s bringing his talent of copywriting and knowledge of moving together to help people all across the world start new chapters in their lives through moving! When he’s not busy writing, you can find him doing extensive research all to help your moving process.

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