Know Your Rights & Responsibilities When You Move


The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) released a brand new version of the consumer rights booklet, Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move. Anyone thinking of hiring a movers should read the document, as it contains information about every step of your move. That document and more resources for consumers are available at protectyourmove.gov.

One important section in the updated booklet is called “Customer’s Responsibilities.” Read it so you’ll know what to expect out of your interstate (or local) move. Those tasks for you as the person moving include:

  • Reading all moving documents issued by the mover or broker.
  • Being available at the time of pickup and delivery of your shipment. If you are not available you should appoint a representative to act on your behalf.
  • Promptly notifying your mover is something has changed regarding your shipment (i.e. move dates, additional items).
  • Making payment in the amount required and in the form agreed to with the mover based on the bill of lading.
  • Promptly filing claims for loss, damage or delays with your mover, if necessary.

The Your Rights & Responsibilities When You Move document is a couple dozen pages, so it’s a great idea to print out the Important Points to Remember page. See those bullet points below:

  1. Movers must give written estimates. The estimates may be either binding or non-binding. Non-binding estimates are “approximations” only, and the actual transportation charges you are eventually required to pay may be higher than the estimated price.
  2. Do not sign blank documents. Verify the document is complete before you sign. In limited situations, it may be appropriate to sign an incomplete document if the only information that does not appear in your moving paperwork is the actual weight of your shipment (in the case of a non-binding estimate) and unforeseen charges that occur in transit or at destination.
  3. Be sure you understand the mover’s responsibility for loss or damage. For more information see FMCSA’s brochure, Understanding Valuation and Insurance Options. Wheaton has created an easy-to-follow video to help explain valuation protection.
  4. Understand the type of liability to which you agree. Ask yourself if 60 cents per pound is enough coverage for your household goods or whether you need to purchase additional valuation.
  5. Notify your mover if you have high value items. High value items are valued at more than $100. Find our more through our blog post on peace of mind.
  6. You have the right to be present each time your shipment is weighed. You also have the right to request a reweigh at no charge.
  7. Confirm with your mover the types of payment acceptable prior to the delivery of your shipment.
  8. Consider requesting arbitration to settle disputed claims with your mover.
  9. You should know if the company you are dealing with is a household goods motor carrier (mover) or household goods broker, and if they are registered with FMCSA. Go to www.protectyourmove.gov for this information.
  10. Do not sign the delivery receipt if it contains any language releasing or discharging your mover or its agents from liability. Strike out such language before signing, or refuse delivery if the mover refuses to provide a proper delivery receipt.

Wheaton is a certified ProMover through the American Trucking Associations and upholds the ethical and professional standards of the organization, which provides customer service agents to help resolve any disputes involving ProMovers. Whether you choose to move with us or not, we want you to work with a trusted professional. So keep yourself and your household items safe: use the tips above and the FMCSA website at protectyourmove.gov to choose a legitimate mover.

Happy moving!

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