Household Goods Consumer Guide 2009indd by lonyoo


									Consumer Guide
   Moving in
Washington State
 When moving within Washington,
        you have important
     rights guaranteed by state
law and enforced by the Washington
    Utilities and Transportation
     Commission (commission).

 This guide is designed to help you
 be an informed consumer BEFORE,
     DURING and AFTER your
           household move.
    1-888-333-WUTC (9882)

Select a mover with a valid
commission permit. Companies
handling moves within Washington
without a permit are violating state
law. A mover with a commission
permit must comply with state safety,
insurance and service standards.
They also must perform their services
at reasonable rates and within a
reasonable time. Movers without a
permit operate outside the law and
may provide little, if any, protection
for loss or damage to your belongings.
The commission can enforce the law
and help protect your rights when you
hire a permitted company.

    Protect Yourself!
       Choose a professional mover with
       a permit from the commission.
       Understand your rights and
       Get a written, signed estimate, and
       have it available when you pay the
       final bill.
       Ask for an inventory and check it
       for accuracy.
       Understand and agree with the bill
       of lading before you sign it.
       Have the mover explain his
       liability for loss and damage.
       Be at the destination at the
       agreed-upon time for delivery.
       Check the condition of your
       property before you sign the bill of
       Keep the bill of lading.
       Keep the lines of communication
       open with your mover at all times.
       If you experience problems, call
       the commission at
       1-888-333-WUTC (9882) or

    In this guide you will learn how
    to evaluate and choose a mover,
    how to compare moving charges
    and estimates and how to avoid
    and reduce loss or damage to your

2                      3
Before the Move
Get Recommendations                        Estimates
When shopping for a moving                 Movers are required to provide
company, get recommendations from          you with a free written estimate
neighbors, friends and coworkers           of the probable cost of your move.
who have hired a mover recently.           Preliminary, verbal estimates are
Ask for and check the company’s            allowed, but a written estimate is
references and the Better Business         required prior to a move. The estimate
Bureau. Inquire about the company’s        should clearly and accurately describe
consumer complaint history at              all charges.
                                           There are two types of estimates:
Trust Your Instincts                         A non-binding estimate is an
If a mover makes you feel                    educated guess of what your move
uncomfortable, go with another               would cost based on the mover’s
company.                                     survey of your belongings. Your
                                             final cost can be more than your
Compare Costs                                non-binding estimate, though in
The commission sets the minimum              no instance are you required to
and maximum rates a mover can                pay more than 25 percent above
charge you for moving services.              the estimate and any supplemental
You may get a copy of these rates,           estimate.
called a tariff, from your mover, the        A binding estimate is a written
commission or by visiting                    agreement that guarantees the                        price you pay based on the items
                                             to be moved and the services listed
Moving costs are calculated by one           on the estimate.
of two methods:
    Moves 56 miles and over - Rates        Regardless of which type of estimate
    are based on the weight of your        you get, you are best served by an
    goods and the distance hauled.         accurate one. Show or provide the
    Moves up to and including 55           estimator with information about
    miles - Rates are based on the         every single item to be moved,
    number of workers used; the            including items in the attic, basement,
    amount of time it takes to load,       garage, shed, closets and under beds.
    move and unload your goods; and        Reach a clear understanding about the
    the mover’s hourly rate for service.   amount of packing and other services
                    4                                         5
Inventory                                   your bill of lading, or if you do not
The mover is required to make an            understand something, ask the mover
inventory list of your property. Make       to explain it to your satisfaction.
sure the list is legible and accurate. If
you disagree with the inventory, note       You must sign the bill of lading
it on the list before you sign it. Make     contract before the truck leaves with
sure all notations also appear on the       your belongings and sign it again as
mover’s copy. Without an inventory,         a receipt upon delivery. The driver
you could have difficulty proving a          should also sign the bill of lading as
claim.                                      a receipt that your belongings were
                                            picked up. If you cannot read the
Anything omitted from the estimate          signature, ask the driver to print his/
but later included in your move will        her name below the signature. Do
add to the cost. If circumstances           not sign the bill of lading until you
change from the time of the estimate        understand it and agree with it. Be
resulting in additional costs, the          sure you keep your copy of the bill of
mover must provide a supplemental           lading safe
estimate, and have you sign it, before      and available
performing the additional services.         until your
Bill of Lading                              are delivered
The bill of lading is your contract         and
with the mover. It states the mover’s       unpacked.
responsibilities, such as the services      If you
they will perform, when and how             choose to
they charge for the move and what           file a claim,
liability they will assume. Be sure you     you’ll need
understand the bill of lading contract,     to submit a copy of the bill of lading
especially the part about the mover’s       with the claim.
liability for loss or damage, and get
a copy. Movers are required to issue        Loss and Damage
you a bill of lading, do not hire a         Movers must assume some level of
mover who does not want to use one.         liability for loss or damage to your
                                            belongings during your move. Your
If there are differences between what       mover’s liability will likely be less
is written on your estimate and on          than the value of your goods. The
                                            mover is not liable for the full value
                     6                                          7
of your property unless you pay an          LOSS AND DAMAGE PROTECTION
additional charge for that protection.
                                            OPTION 1 – Basic Value Protection
“Mover’s liability” and “insurance”         Option 1 provides the minimum level
are not the same thing, so it is a good     of liability a mover may assume when
idea to see your insurance agent to         moving your belongings. The mover’s
determine if you need additional            maximum liability for the entire
coverage. Movers must explain their         shipment is 60 cents per pound for the
liability for loss or damage to your        total shipment.
property and how you can increase           Coverage: The mover will pay at 60
your protection.                                        cents per pound for each
                                                        lost or damaged article.
The amount of the mover’s liability                     Example: if a two-pound
depends on the level of protection                      vase were broken, you
you select. The greater the liability                   would be paid $1.20.
assumed by the mover, the more              Cost:       You do not pay extra for
costly the option is for you. In                        this coverage.
selecting a liability option, you should
consider the following:                     OPTION 2 – Replacement Cost
    The value of the belongings being       Coverage, with deductible
    moved;                                  Option 2 provides full coverage,
    The susceptibility of those             less a $300 deductible. The mover’s
    belongings to damage;                   maximum liability is your declared
    The degree of risk you are willing      value of the belongings, or $5.00 times
    to accept; and                          the weight of the total shipment,
    The cost of the protection.             whichever is greater (less the $300
You may choose from the following
liability options, described in detail on   Coverage: The mover will repair the
the following page:                                  damage to your satisfaction,
    Basic Value Protection                           pay you for the lost or
    Replacement Cost Coverage with                   damaged articles (less the
    Deductible                                       $300 deductible), or replace
    Replacement Cost Coverage with                   the lost or damaged article
    No Deductible                                    for any amount over the
                                                     $300 deductible. The $300
                                                     deductible applies to the
                    8                                          9
           entire shipment rather than          with new articles.
           each individual article.             Articles whose age or history
Cost:      The mover may charge                 contributes substantially to their
           minimum of 55 cents and a            value. This includes, but is not limited
           maximum of $1.15 per $100            to: memorabilia, souvenirs, and
           of declared value. Declared          collector’s items.
           value may not be less than
           $5.00 per pound of the total      Loss and Damage Exceptions
           shipment weight.                  If the mover decides to reimburse you
                                             for, or replace, a lost or damaged item,
OPTION 3 – Replacement Cost                  the carrier may claim the item as it’s
Coverage, with no deductible                 property.
Option 3 provides full value
replacement coverage for your                You may include the following items
belongings. The mover’s maximum              in a shipment however, the mover is
liability is your declared value, or         not responsible for the condition or
$5.00 times the weight of the total          safe delivery of:
shipment weight, whichever is                    Coins, currency, deeds, notes,
greater.                                         postage stamps, letters, drafts or
Coverage: The mover will repair                  valuable papers of any kind.
             damage to your satisfaction,        Jewelry, precious stones, or
             reimburse you for the               precious metals.
             replacement cost, or replace        Items of extraordinary value.
             lost or damaged articles.           Items requiring temperature
Cost:        The mover may charge a              control.
             minimum of 66 cents and             Household pets.
             a maximum of $1.40 per              Live plants.
             $100 of your declared value.        Perishable items.
             Declared value may not be           Furniture or other items made
             less than $5.00 per pound of        of pressboard, particle board or
             the total shipment weight.          similar pressed material.

Note: Option 2 and Option 3 do not           The mover is not liable for the loss
apply to:                                    of or damage to any article for the
   Antiques, fine arts, painting, statuary,   following circumstances:
   and similar articles, that by their           Breakage, when items are packed
   inherent nature cannot be replaced            by you or your representative
                    10                                           11
unless it can be proved that the          insurrection, rebellion, revolution,
breakage resulted from negligence         civil war, usurped power,
by the mover in handling the              and action taken in hindering,
articles.                                 combating, or defending against
Internal damage to electronics            such occurrences: a) by any
(radios, stereos, CD/DVD players,         government or sovereign power,
televisions, computers, printers,         or by authority maintaining or
scanners, etc.) when no visible           using military forces; b) by military
damage to the external packaging          forces; or, c) by an agent of such
or contents exists or if the item         government, power, authority or
was packed by you or your                 forces.
representative.                           Seizure, confiscation or destruction
Loss or damage from insects,              under quarantine by order of any
moths, vermin, mold, fungus or            government or public authority.
bacteria within your belongings           Strikes, lockouts, labor
or that develop therein due to            disturbances, riots, civil
conditions present before the             commotions or the acts of any
mover picks up your belongings.           person or persons taking part in
Loss or damage because the item           any such occurrence or disorder.
was in an obvious state of disrepair      Acts of God.
at the time of shipment, provided
that the mover noted the disrepair     Movers will not accept the following
on the inventory form.                 items for shipment:
An act, omission, or order, or loss       Explosives;
or damage resulting from your             Dangerous goods; or
inclusion in the shipment of such         Property liable to damage the
articles as explosives, dangerous         mover’s equipment or other
articles or dangerous goods.              property.
Defective design of an article,
including susceptibility to damage     Moves of 56 Miles or More
because of atmospheric conditions      Charges for moves of 56 miles or more
such as temperature or humidity        are based on weight and distance.
changes.                               To determine the net weight of your
Hostile or warlike action or use       shipment, the mover weighs the
of any weapon of war (in time          empty vehicle then reweighs it after
of peace or war), terrorism,           loading your belongings into the truck

               12                                         13
or by other methods approved in the        the condition of the items being
UTC tariff.                                moved. You will be asked to sign
                                           certain documents. Ask questions if
At your request, the mover will notify     you do not understand the documents
you of the weight and charges as soon      or process.
as the net weight of your shipment
is established. You are entitled to        Check for damage, particularly to valuable
witness the official weighing of the        items, while the mover is present. If
loaded vehicle if you request to do        there is a box or container that will
so. The mover can also re-weigh the        not be unpacked right away, you
shipment before delivery at your           and the mover should inspect it for
request if it is practical to do so. You   signs of damage. Do not sign any
are responsible for the cost of            delivery papers until you inspect your
re-weighing the shipment.                  belongings and check them against
                                           the inventory. Record any damages on
Packing, Delivery and                      your copy and the mover’s copy of the
                  Inspection               bill of lading and the inventory form.
                         Be there when     This will help later if you have to file a
                         your goods are    claim. If you find damaged goods after
                         packed, loaded,   the mover has left, keep the items and
                         unloaded and      packing materials as they were in the
                         unpacked. If      box, or set aside damaged belongings
                         you can not       that were not packed. Call the
                         be there, have    mover immediately so that a claims
                         someone you       representative can inspect them.
                        trust represent
you. If you are not there and delivery     If you choose to file a claim, it must
can not be made because of your            be filed with the mover within nine
absence, your property may be put in       months from the date of delivery.
storage at your expense (see page 19
of this guide for more information).       Payment of Charges
                                           Unless you make credit arrangements,
Review the inventory sheets of all items   you must pay all legal charges for the
loaded into the truck. Be sure you agree   move before your goods are unloaded.
with the company’s comments about
                                           If charges are more than the written

                    14                                         15
non-binding estimate, the mover must     of lading should accompany your
unload and release all of your goods     written claim.
if you pay 110 percent of the amount
of the estimate and supplemental         Your mover must acknowledge your
estimates. The mover is required to      written claim within 10 days, and act
give you at least 30 days to pay the     on it (pay, settle or deny) within 90
balance.                                 days. Be sure to keep the damaged
                                         property. The mover has the right to
Even if you receive only a non-          inspect any damaged property before
binding estimate, there is a limit to    settling a claim.
the amount you are required to pay.
UTC rules ensure that in no instance     While commission staff can sometimes
are you required to pay more than 25     facilitate negotiations between parties,
percent above the estimate and any       we cannot require you or the mover
supplemental estimate.                   to settle loss and damage claims. Still,
                                         if after working with the mover you
Claims                                   remain unsatisfied with the outcome,
All claims for loss or damage must be    you should call the commission
filed in writing with the mover, after
all legal charges for your move have     If the mover will not voluntarily settle
been paid. The mover must provide        a claim to your satisfaction, you may
you with all of the information and      file suit in a court of law. Depending
forms necessary to file a claim. Claims   on the amount contested, you may be
must be filed within nine months from     able to use small claims court.
the date of delivery. If your shipment
is lost, the claim must be filed within   Complaints
nine months of the date upon which       If you are not satisfied with the
delivery should have been made.          mover’s service, you should first try to
Report the loss or damage as soon        resolve your dispute with the mover.
as you discover it. File your claim as   Many disputes can be resolved by
soon as possible while memories are      asking to speak to a supervisor.
                                         If you are not satisfied with the
Claims must contain sufficient            response from your moving company,
information to identify the property     contact the Commissions Consumer
involved. A copy of the original bill    Protection Help Line at
                                         1-888-333-WUTC (9882) or fill out our
                   16                                       17
online complaint form at                      The vehicle must be in good file a complaint.               condition, not subject to leakage,
                                              pilferage or entry by vermin or
Storage                                       insects.
If during your move, some or all              The mover must continue to accept
of your belongings must be stored             responsibility for any loss or
either temporarily or long term, the          damage during SIV at the loss and
following rules will apply based on           damage protection level selected
the type of storage.                          on the bill of lading.
                                              The mover will charge for every
                            Storage-          day your belongings are stored
                            in-Vehicle        in the vehicle. Your bill of lading
                            (SIV)             must include a notation stating you
                            SIV service       have requested SIV service and
                            is when your      agree to pay the stated rate. Refer
                            belongings        to the Household Goods Tariff on
                            are               the UTC’s web page for the latest
                            temporarily       rate information.
                            stored in
                            or on the      Warehouse Storage
                            mover’s        There are two types of warehouse
                            v              storage: Storage-in-Transit (90 days
                            instead of     or less) and Permanent Storage (more
                            being moved
                            b              than 90 days). Regardless of the type
into a warehouse. Not all companies        of warehouse storage you authorize,
offer this option since it ties up their   you will be required to pay a fee
equipment for the storage period. The      that includes the rent for the storage
following rules apply to SIV service:      space and a charge for moving your
    Belongings must not be stored for      belongings in and out of storage. Both
    more than 15 days, unless you and      the mover and the warehouse must
    the mover agree to an extension.       maintain the following information:
    The vehicle must be parked in a            An itemized list of stored
    safe, secured area and locked at all       belongings;
    times.                                     The bill of lading number;

                   18                                         19
   The origin and destination points          by the mover, such as packing
   of your shipment;                          materials, overtime charges, third
   The condition of each item when            party billings, etc.
   received at and forwarded from
   the warehouse;                          If your belongings are not removed
   The dates when all charges,             from storage within 90 days, your
   advances, or payments were made         move is considered completed and the
   or received; and                        following conditions apply:
   The dates when delivered into, and          Mover’s liability terminates at
   forwarded from, the warehouse.              midnight on the 90th day.
                                               The warehouse is considered
Storage-in-Transit (SIT)                       the destination point for your
SIT is temporary warehouse storage             belongings.
of your belongings for 90 days or              Your stored belongings are subject
less pending a move to the final                to the rules, regulations, and
destination. The storage may be in             charges of the warehouse. You
either a warehouse owned by the                will need to deal directly with the
mover or in a warehouse the mover              warehouse.
has chosen as its agent. Either way, the       The mover must bill you for all
commission regulates the moving and            charges accrued to date.
storage rates you pay to the mover.
The mover will continue to be liable       Permanent Storage
for loss or damage to your belongings      Permanent storage is warehouse
while in SIT, at the value protection      storage for longer than 90 days. In
level you select when your belongings      this case, the destination of your
go into SIT. When your belongings are      move is the warehouse. You will pay
placed in SIT, the mover may bill you      the mover for the move and pay the
for:                                       warehouse separately for storage
                                           costs. Permanent storage is not regulated
   Transporting your belongings from       by the UTC. Review carefully any
   the origin point to the warehouse;      documents you receive from the
   Storage for the first 30-day period.     warehouse.
   Warehouse handling;
   Loss and damage protection              When your belongings are placed in
   during the temporary storage.; and      permanent storage, the mover will bill
   Any additional services provided

                   20                                          21
you for:                                     The mover was unable to locate
   Transportation to the                     you or your representative at
   warehouse;                                the address given or the correct
   Charges for loss and damage               address.
   protection during the move to the         You or your representative refused
   warehouse; and                            or were unable to accept delivery.
   Any additional services provided          On a shipment moving under a
   such as packing materials,                non-binding estimate, you were
   overtime, third party billings, etc.      unable or refused to pay up to
                                             110 percent of the amount of the
The mover’s liability for value              original
protection ends when your belongings         estimate.
enter permanent storage.
Many warehouses limit their liability     The mover’s
on goods in storage to 10 cents per       liability ends
pound per article unless you purchase     with delivery
additional protection. This means the     to the public
warehouse would pay only $1 for a         warehouse and
10-pound lamp broken lamp, even if it     the shipment
is worth $200.                            becomes
                                          subject to the
You are not obligated to use the          warehouse’s
same mover when leaving storage.          liability, terms
But whether you use your original         and conditions.
mover or a new one, you will have         The mover must
to pay for moving your belongings         mail or deliver a written notice to your
out of storage and all other charges      destination address advising that it
associated with the move.                 was unable to make delivery.

Other Reasons for Storage                 The mover must notify the you by
The mover may place your belongings       every means of contact the mover
into storage at the public warehouse      has for you, including telephone,
nearest the point of destination if the   e-mail, and fax, and the mover must
mover is unable to make delivery          mail or deliver a written notice to
because:                                  the destination address advising that

                   22                                        23
it was unable to make delivery and       Contact the Commission
advising you of the name, address
e-mail address, if applicable, and       Consumer Help Line
telephone number of the warehouse        1-888-333-WUTC (9882) toll free
where the shipment is stored.  
The written notice must include a
statement that if you do not receive     General Information
or claim the shipment within 30          (360) 664-1160
days of the date the written notice
was mailed, the shipment becomes
subject to disposition by the mover in
accordance with the Washington State
Uniform Commercial Code, Chapter         1300 S. Evergreen Park Drive SW
62A.7 RCW.                               P.O. Box 47250
                                         Olympia, WA 98504-7250

                                         To request this document in alternative
                                         formats to accommodate persons with
                                         disabilities please call (360) 664-1133 or
                                         TTY 1-800-416-5989.

 Consumer Help Line
1-888-333-WUTC (9882)

       PO Box 47250
1300 S Evergreen Park Dr SW
     Olympia, WA 98504

     (360) 664-1160
   (360) 586-1150 Fax

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