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Considering the Legalities of Moving

We all know that there are plenty of things involved in the moving process, such as gathering moving quotes and packing boxes, but very few people every look into the legal rights and responsibilities that are associated with such an event. Despite the seemingly transparent process of moving to a new home, there are really plenty of legalities that you might not have known about before reading this article. Yet, to make sure that your things and you are safe throughout a move, you need to have these things in the back of your mind. Thus, remember the following when you are planning and executing a move.

Consumer Rights

Every consumer has certain rights that movers have to legally abide by and adhere to. There are actually quite a few rights consumers have, though the industry is not always regulated and many consumers aren’t always told when they have the right to something. Therefore, consumers should be proactive in finding out just what their rights are before they hire a company. Here are a few of the most important rights that all consumers should be aware of.

  • All consumers have the right to a binding estimate that is both legally binding and limiting of how much money the moving companies can charge the consumer.


  • Consumers also have the right to refuse to sign any contracts that are incomplete. This is why reading contracts and the things that you sign is so important.


  • Consumers looking for movers also have the right to multiple moving quotes from multiple companies. It is important that you not disclose any estimate from one company to another, however.


  • All consumers have the right to basic liability coverage as outlined by the current Released Rates Order (which can be requested by contacting the Surface Transportation Board).’


  • Consumers have the right to acquire more moving insurance as needed to cover the full cost of repair or replacement. Keep in mind that this needs to be done before your goods are actually moved.


  • All movers must provide consumers with an inventory list as well as a final contract called the Bill of Lading. This is not optional and it must be completed by the company that you hire.



Moving companies must always weigh your shipment. There are a few different methods of weighing your shipment, and your mover doesn’t have to use all of them, but they must determine the weight of your shipment and provide you with documentation of such. Consumers also have the right to observe this weighing if they so choose.

Your Responsibilities

There are also responsibilities that consumers must be accountable for when moving. It is important to fulfill these responsibilities so that the move is completed correctly and in a timely manner. You also have to realize that if you choose not to meet all of your responsibilities when moving, you may forfeit any claim to insurance money that would otherwise cover damage done to your goods while they are in transit. As such, be sure to know your responsibilities before you move. Some of the most important are as follows.

  • The most important responsibility involves understanding the liability that the movers hold over the things that they are transporting. You must understand their policy and opt for extra moving insurance if you so choose.


  • All consumers have the responsibility to ensure that their shipment is safe for travel. That means that you cannot pack any hazardous items including cleaning chemicals, paints, or any other such goods. The temperature in the back of a truck can reach some extremes, and when subjected to the bouncing of a truck and the temperatures involved, these chemicals can cause fire, explosions, or worse.


  • Consumers are responsible for coming to an agreement on pickup and delivery dates before a moving company is actually hired. You should always agree on a set date and time, rather than anything vague like ‘pickup as soon as possible’.


  • More importantly than anything, perhaps, is the responsibility that you have to communicate to the movers. This starts when you hire them officially and should continue until your goods are delivered to your new home. Communication will often save heartache when you are moving.



Understanding the legalities of moving is not a difficult task. Thankfully, these days, much of this language is plain and simple, allowing everyone to understand just what they are getting into. Be sure to review your rights and responsibilities before you choose a moving company and begin the relocation process. This is the only way to ensure that your goods make it to your new home without any trouble at all.


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