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Moving advice

Whether there's a family, professional or personal reason for a move, it can be challenging. That's why it's a good idea to take the necessary steps to ease stress and protect your property during the moving process.

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Choose a reputable mover

Choosing a reputable moving company is the first — and probably most important —step in the moving process. Seek a mover with reliable evidence of great customer service, truthful advertising and sound business practices.

When shopping around for a mover, it's important to:

Here are some potential red flags to watch out for when hiring movers:

Find out if you are working with a mover or a broker

A moving broker is a company that arranges for the transportation of your cargo, using sub‑contractors to provide the service. If you are working with a broker, make sure you have information about their certification and track record. Determine if the moving broker is responsible for all services from end to end—including those provided by sub-contractors. Many brokers do not assume responsibility for lost or broken items.

Sub-contracting is a major source of consumer complaints. It can result in a confusing trail of responsibility if a dispute arises.

Get a quote in writing from the mover

Before you commit, get the costs, as well as terms and conditions, of your move in writing.

You should also:

Tip: for more information on understanding moving terms, check out this Help Sheet put together by the Canadian Association of Movers.

Get insurance for your move

A combination of your household insurance and the mover's insurance may cover you if there is damage to, or loss of, your belongings. Usually, your household insurance will cover you for catastrophic loss.

Under transportation law, the mover is not responsible for carrying goods of extraordinary value, such as works of art, unless that value has been declared. Some items have what is called "inherent vice" which means that they are intended to be assembled and left in one place for their useful life, such as fiberboard furniture. Movers may ask for a waiver of liability when they see this type of fragile item in your inventory.

Make sure to:

Take steps for a smooth moving day

Good preparation on your part, and an awareness of your rights, could turn a good move into a great move.

Here are some helpful tips:

Remember, if belongings are damaged or lost, claims often must be made within 30 days for local moves and within 60 days for long distance moves.

Putting your belongings in storage

Remember:

Wrap up your move

Once the mover has unloaded your belongings, walk through your new space and check all hallways and pathways into your premises to ensure that there is no damage to the property. You should also check the moving vehicle to confirm that the mover hasn't forgotten to unload any of your items. Make sure that both you and the mover have gone through the inventory and confirm that the move is complete.

If there are lost items or unresolved issues with the mover, send a letter or email and ask for a resolution. Any damage or other insurance claim should be filed right away, as there are often very strict timelines associated with making a claim. Take pictures of anything that you think is damaged or broken.

Don't forget to give your mover feedback. Moving companies can only improve or sustain their high performance if they know that their work is recognized and appreciated.

Filing a complaint

If you have a dispute with a moving company, make sure to keep copies of all the documents that support your complaint.

Inform the business of your complaint by letter, email, or a phone call explaining the issue. It is recommended writing to the business before you file a complaint with your provincial/territorial consumer affairs office.

If you advise the business of your complaint by phone, make sure to note the date and details of the conversation. Keep a copy for your records.

If you cannot resolve the issue with the company, file a complaint with your provincial/territorial consumer affairs office.

Moving checklist

This moving checklist can help you at every stage of your move.

This checklist for moving complements legal protections, established in law, that are already in place.

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