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Moving contract – the ultimate breakdown of terms

AM Moving Company — November 23, 2019

Having to go through the relocation process is one of the hardest experiences in life. There are so many things to do and yet, you don’t have as nearly enough time to do them alone. Many people choose not to deal on their own with this endeavor, so they hire a professional moving company. And they are right to do so. Because a professional moving company has experience and can organize your move with ease. You would just have to show up on a moving day! However, there are numerous fraudulent moving companies that are trying to trick you out of your money. So if you choose the right moving company they will want to sign a moving contract with you.

However, just signing a moving contract is not going to be enough. You must understand what you’re signing. Because if you don’t fraudulent movers can use that against you. And understanding this kind of contract can be hard for it consists of a lot of specific terms. So here’s the ultimate breakdown of terms you can find in a moving contract to help you understand it!

A sign "fraud alert"
If a moving company avoids signing a moving contract with you then you should take this as a fraud alert.

Moving contract – the ultimate breakdown of the terms

This is a list where you can find some of the most important terms you can come across when reading a moving contract. If there’s something that you can’t find in this list you can always ask your movers about them before the upcoming relocation. So without further ado:

  • additional services (accessorial charges) – this includes any service other than transportation. This means that you will have to pay for services like appliance service, packing and unpacking in addition to transportation charges.
  • advanced charges – services that are performed by anyone other than the movers are considered as advanced charges. So if craftsmen or other professionals do something on your request as a third-party, their service will be added to your bill of lading charges.
  • AMSA certified mover – this is a mover who transports your goods under its own operating authority that must be granted by the Federal Highway Administration. These movers follow the AMSA Code of Conduct.
  • appliance service – when you request appliance service it means that the movers will prepare your electrical appliances for shipment and that they’ll ensure their safety.
  • auto inventory – this is a list that shows what is being moved, its condition and mileage at the time of shipping. You should get this service if the moving company is transporting your car, motorcycle or boat.
  • bill of lading (B/L or BoL) – this is the most important document when you are signing a moving contract. Because the bill of lading is actually the receipt and moving contract between the moving company and the client that is moving. You should make a copy of the bill of lading and keep it in a different place than the original bill of lading because this way it’ll be harder to lose both.
  • binding or non-binding estimate – a binding estimate is a guarantee of the total cost of the move. Whereas, a non-binding estimate is an approximate cost of the move that can change later depending on the actual weight and tariff provisions.
  • bulky item – items that are bulky will be charged extra.
A TV - Moving contract
Bulky items would, for example, be TVs, grandfather clocks, lawnmowers and so on.
  • carrier – this is actually a mover that is transporting your household goods.
  • claim – after the move, if you discover that some of your belongings were damaged during the move, then you can file a complaint with the moving company. And they will have to reimburse, repair or replace those belongings.
  • change order – whenever you request to change something, whether to add or to remove a certain service then the movers need to create a change order to amend the original amount of the estimate.
  • cube sheet (table of measurements) – a list of written measurements of your household goods.
  • Cash On Delivery (C.O.D.) – this is the amount that a client needs to pay the moving company upon delivery.
  • diversion – if you change the address of destination after the transport has already begun you may be additionally charged.
  • estimate – this is a general calculation of the transportation charges, additional services and estimation of shipment weight.
  • flight charge (stair carry charge) – if the movers have to carry your belongings up or down the stairs you will have to pay more.
  • fuel surcharge – this charge applies to the general cost of moving if the price of fuel changes during the move.
  • guaranteed pickup and delivery service – this service means that the movers guarantee dates of pickup and delivery and that the movers provide reimbursement for delays.
  • high-value items – these are the items that have a value that exceeds $100 per pound.
  • inventory – a list of all of your belongings with a description of their condition and a designated number for each item.
  • linehaul charges – moving company calculated these charges based on the total weight of the shipment and mileage for a long-distance move.
  • long carry – when the distance between the movers’ vehicle and your home is excessive then you’ll have to pay extra for this.
  • non-allowable list – this is a list of the items that the moving company will not or cannot transport.
  • order for service – this is a document that authorizes the movers to transport your household goods.
  • overflow – this means that your belongings exceed the space of the primary vehicle and that there is a need for another vehicle.
  • PBO – this stands for Packed By Owner
  • shuttle service – when a large moving truck can’t access your home then there’s a need for a smaller vehicle.
Storage warehouse - moving contract
You will be responsible for the warehouse handling and final delivery charges.
  • Storage In Transit (SIT) – this means that the moving company will temporarily place the shipment in storage. Furthermore, you will have to pay extra for this. You must specifically request this service and your belongings may not stay in storage longer than 90 days.
  • van line – this is a national moving company that has the authority to transport interstate shipments.
  • valuation – this is the total monetary worth of the shipment that you set.
  • warehouse handling – this is an additional charge whenever you request an SIT service.

Signing a moving contract

Finally, after you’ve read the ultimate breakdown of the terms you are almost ready to sign a moving contract with the moving company. I’m saying almost because it’s extremely important that you double-check everything before you sign a moving contract. Furthermore, don’t sign anything until you’re completely satisfied. After all, you’re paying for it!

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