Common reasons the final price increases above the original estimate:
Perhaps the biggest complaint consumers have about moving companies is that the final price of the move exceeded the original estimate. As explained above charges for moving services are based on many factors which could be unknown before the services have been completed. In some cases it can be difficult to estimate the exact weight of all the property in a house, or if there will be special services required at the delivery destination.
A professional moving company should be able to give a reasonably accurate estimate. However, all estimates are based upon the information provided by the consumer. In some cases a consumer may not know if the extra services, such as stairs or long carry, will be required to complete delivery at the destination. There are many legitimate reasons the final changes for a move could end up higher than the original estimate given. Consumers need to be made aware in advance of the prices for extra services and be prepared to pay more money than originally anticipated if those services are required. Consider the following list of common reasons the final cost of a move would increase above the estimate.
o After originally anticipating doing their own packing, the consumer runs out of time before the pick-up date and needs the mover to perform last minute packing services.
o The estimator miscalculates the weight of certain items of furniture and ends up issuing an inaccurate estimate.
o A well intentioned conscientious consumer may request a moving estimate a month or two before their actual move date. Since the estimate was requested well in advance, the consumer did not have all their boxes packed when the estimator inquires "how many boxes will you be shipping?" It is difficult to accurately estimate the number of boxes which will be used to pack clothes, dishes, books, pantry items, garage items, and an entire household of miscellaneous items - when nothing has been packed.
o In the process of downsizing a customer may request an estimate based upon a specific list of items to be moved with the anticipation that they will sell, donate, or discard some of their current property. If the customer fails to sell, donate, or discard the property the size and cost of the move is increased.
o Under the stress of planning a cross country move the consumer may simply forget to inform the estimator of seldom used items located in an attic, storage shed, or basement.
o In some cases a consumer may fail to inform the estimator of certain items to be moved in hope that they can lock in a lower price - not realizing that the final price would be based upon the weight of all the items moved (disclosed in advance or not) and services performed.
o The customer may not be familiar with the specific characteristics of the destination home resulting in extra unanticipated charges - i.e.
Shuttle charge: The use of a smaller truck to provide service to homes not accessible to the mover's normal 18 wheeler because of limited space or roadway restrictions. For example, delivery into downtown San Francisco.
Long Carry charge: A charge for carrying articles excessive distances between the mover's vehicle and the customer's home. For example, a 100 yard walkway from the street to the front door of the home.
Stairs: A charge for carrying items up or down flights of stairs. For example, delivery to the 5th floor of an apartment building with no functioning elevator.
Unanticipated storage: Temporary warehouse storage of the shipment pending further transportation. For example, if the consumer's new home isn't quite ready to occupy.
Rigging, hoisting, and lowering: Setting up a rope and pulley system to raise large bulky items through an upper floor window when the item will not fit though the front door. For example, an oversized couch, armoire or piano up to a second floor of an old Victorian home.
The Law Offices of Michael Garcia specializes in interstate and intrastate transportation law and the representation of household goods moving companies and consumers in actions against moving companies. His practice focuses on regulatory compliance and training, tariff and contract requirements, and consumer protection laws. Mr. Garcia's practice has a strong emphasis on training in order to avoid litigation and regulatory actions by educating moving companies to operate in compliance with the law and to protect consumers.
Moving Company Laws Regulatory Compliance:
Moving company representation: Mr. Garcia's regulatory compliance practice includes training, drafting of shipping documents (bill of lading, order for service, binding estimate, non-binding estimate, etc.). Mr. Garcia's firm publishes custom interstate moving company tariffs in compliance with FMCSA and STB regulations. Mr. Garcia's firm also represents moving companies in regulatory actions and civil lawsuits against moving companies.
Lawsuit Against Moving Company:
Consumer representation: Mr. Garcia's represents consumers in lawsuits against moving companies and in arbitration. Lawsuits against moving companies may include damages to property, breach of contract, tariff or regulatory violations, and hostage loads.
Mr. Garcia is admitted to practice before all state courts in California; and the United States District Court Northern District of California. He frequently represents motor carriers in administrative actions before the United States DOT FMCSA Eastern, Southern, Midwestern, and Western Service Centers.
The information contained on this website is designed for informational purposes only. Nothing on this website is designed or intended to constitute legal advice. Federal, state, and local laws and regulations governing the moving industry change frequently and may be interpreted differently by different people. If you need specific legal advice you should consult Mr. Garcia directly or a representative from the US DOT.