Know your rights when hiring a moving company

The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) wants Ohioans to remember that when hiring a moving company, you have rights guaranteed by law and enforced by the PUCO.

Before deciding to hire a mover, ensure they are properly registered with the PUCO to do business in Ohio (for in-state moves), or the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (for interstate moves).

When planning your move, it is important to know a few things about your rights regarding estimates, bill of lading, insurance coverage and claims. 

Estimate: the expected cost, in writing, the company provides to you prior to your move.

  • The estimate should be in writing unless your move will cost $500 or less or is scheduled within five days of request.
  • The moving company has the option of providing you with one of three kinds of estimates: nonbinding, binding and guaranteed-not-to-exceed. The type will be clearly stated on the estimate.
  • Do not assume that something is included in the estimate if it is not in writing.

Bill of lading: similar to a receipt, identifies who owns the household goods on the moving company’s truck.

  • A (or The) Bill of lading will be attached to the estimate while the shipment is in route.
  • You may request an inventory of your household goods when the company is loading them, but the company may charge an additional fee for that service.

Liability coverage: all moving companies are responsible for the value of the goods transported.

  • Companies must have cargo insurance in an amount equal to the declared value of your shipment.
  • Moving companies may offer different types of reimbursement for lost or damaged goods, but must offer full replacement value.
  • Generally, the higher the carrier cargo liability, the higher the cost to you.
  • On your estimate, you will initial to indicate the type of coverage you choose.
  • The moving company may reserve the right to repair any damaged items prior to replacing regardless of the level of coverage selected. This must be stated in your written estimate.
  • If the company does not have a reimbursement option, you are entitled to the full replacement value of any lost or damaged goods.

Claims: a written explanation of any loss or damage to any items during your move, submitted to the moving company.

  • The company must provide you with at least 60 days to file a claim.
  • The company must acknowledge the receipt of your claim, in writing, within 15 days after they receive it.
  • The company, within 30 days of receiving your claim, must pay, decline, or make a firm compromise settlement offer.

More information

If you cannot resolve a dispute with your moving company, contact the PUCO at (800) 686-PUCO (7826) or file a complaint online.

Posted on June 1, 2017 .