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Having problems during the moving process is something that can ruin not just your day. But your budget as well. It can lead to delays, too much stress and a lot of extra expenses. And while sometimes it’s not the moving companies’ fault, there are times when it is. And that’s when you need to know when and how you can sue a moving company. It’s important to stay calm, think things through and take the right action. Otherwise, you can just cause more unnecessary expenses and headaches. 

Can you sue a moving company at all?

There are many instances when you would want to go right ahead and sue a moving company. But, is it always wise and beneficial? Moving companies are not regulated by state or local governments. They are in fact regulated by the federal government through the Interstate Commerce Commission. That means that even though you’ve hired a local NYC moving company, local law may not apply. Especially when moving goods across state borders. And any common law contract will be considered secondary to those of the ICC. And many people avoid suing moving companies because they assume that no federal judge will be bothered with dealing with your lost or damaged items.

person thinking can they sue a moving company
A lot of people are not actually sure can they sue a moving company

It’s complicated but possible

It all seems quite complicated. And starting even a common small claims dispute will mean a lot of headaches for you. And that’s why it’s always best to consult with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. They work with many different agencies in preventing and reducing motor carrier accidents. And can help you a great deal. But, you can still sue your moving company. And you can even do it in your local court. The agreement will be subject to the federal rule. But there are many instances where you will want to bring your argument with the moving company to 

Instances when you should sue a moving company

The question of whether you can or can’t sue a moving company is important. But, what’s more, important is when you have a right to sue. In cases when you can’t settle the dispute with movers, you need to know which actions you should take. And whether these actions will actually be beneficial for you

Should you sue a moving company for damaged items?

One of the most common problems people have with moving companies is damage to their belongings. Maybe you want to move your expensive furniture. And you hired movers to transport your couch to furniture storage NYC you just rented. And it gets damaged along the way. Since it’s an expensive item, you probably want a replacement. And you are even considering to sue a moving company to get the money back.  The problem with this is the insurance policy. If you don’t pay for additional insurance for your items you are eligible to receive only a small amount in damages. And you are the one who has to prove the value of your belongings. 

money and clock
By paying a little extra for insurance, you can save yourself from a lot of trouble

To sue or not to sue?

In most cases, you are the one responsible for making sure that you are on the right side of the law. People often want to start moving as soon as possible. And so, they sign the moving paperwork without looking at it. And that’s what can cause a problem if there are any damaged items. If you don’t get extra insurance for your belongings, their value is tied to their weight. And that means that no matter how much your item costs, you’ll only get 60 cents per pound of weight. Those cents on the dollar in most scenarios. And in that case, you have no grounds for a lawsuit. Same as when you sign a document stating that you received your belongings in good condition. Without checking everything first. It will be very hard to prove otherwise after a few days when you unpack them. 

But, even in those cases, problems might arise when you try to get even that small amount out of your moving company. And in those instances, you have a right to sue. Just make sure it’s worth the cost. 

What can you do to avoid this?

The best thing that you can ever do is to only hire reputable moving companies. Don’t try to save a few dollars by hiring local experienced movers. It doesn’t matter if you are hiring office movers or someone to move your piano. Make sure you stick with the reputable moving companies. Ones that have a long history of good relations with their customers. And make sure to carefully read the moving agreement before you sign it. That way you will know exactly what your rights are. 

rating for a good moving company so you don't have to sue a moving company
By choosing only reputable companies, you will be safe!

Instances when you should sue a moving company

There are some instances when you should definitely sue a moving company. Those instances are mostly related when they are in direct violation of the moving contract or the law. Or both. So, even though you did everything in your power to avoid moving scams, you might still fall for one. And in that case, you have every right to sue. And even call the police. 

Movers refuse to unload your belongings until you pay extra

There are many instances of moving frauds where movers refuse to unload your belongings. At least until you pay extra charges. They might threaten to bring your belongings back to your old address. Or to put them in storage and charge you even more for it. But, if you’ve signed a binding estimate, you don’t have to pay anything extra. As long as you were honest that is. And in those cases, the moving company is in violation of both the contract and the law. If they threaten you with extra charges and refuse to hand over your belongings, you should consider calling the police.

When the movers are late

Another instance when you can sue and win an argument is when the movers are late. But, for you to win an argument in court, you have to prove your losses due to their tardiness. For example, you moved to a different state for a job. And because the movers are late you had to miss a few days of work. In that case, you can sue for loss of wages.

About Author

John has been with Divine Moving and Storage in New York for nearly two decades. Starting as a young helper and climbing up the ranks to be a staple in our organization. John has the knowledge and experience to assist our clients with any move or storage related needs. You can reach John or any of our associates in NYC at 212-244-4011