What Consumers Should Know About Moving Estimates
Is a mover required to provide you with a written estimate? Yes. An estimate must include all charges for transportation, services, advance charges, and what form of payment the company accepts. Both you and a representative from the motor carrier must date and sign each estimate.
Is the estimate, aka the order for service, a contract? No. An estimate is not a bid or a contract. It is an approximation of the cost based upon the services listed in the estimate. The only contract between you and the motor carrier is the bill of lading. Either party may cancel the move prior to signing the bill of lading. The company should inform you that the charges on the estimate are not guaranteed. The actual charges may be higher or lower than the estimate.
What is a Binding Estimate for Moving?
A binding estimate is an agreement between you and the motor carrier. It provides that the total cost of the relocation will be based on the description of the services and items list in the binding estimate.
The phrase “binding estimate” is a bit misleading. Some consumers believe it means a guarantee. It does not. A binding estimate may be revised prior to work beginning on the date of pick-up. This would typically be for a higher charge based on additional items being transported or extra services.
A binding estimate must be written. It must also state that the estimate is “binding” and have your signature and the motor carrier. In addition, it must clearly describe the shipment and all services provided. A motor carrier has the option to charge you for a binding estimate.
In general, you will not be required to pay more than the binding estimate. The charges are due at delivery, but before unloading the truck. If you requested additional services that were not listed on the estimate, the mover can ask for full payment at the destination prior to unloading the truck. This might include items like shuttle charges, long carry charges, or extra stair carry charges.
A Revised Written Estimate or a Rescission When Moving
Both a binding or non-binding estimate may be raised or lowered in price at any time before the work begins. If you have more household items or make a change to the initial order, the mover may either (1) do the move with the additional household items. In this case, you would need to pay 10% more than the estimate on a non-binding estimate or 100% of the binding estimate with the balance billed to you after the 30-day deferment; or (2) you and the mover can complete a Revised Written Estimate/Rescission document. This must be done before any work is begun.
The Revised Written Estimate given before loading begins becomes the only estimate for which charges will be figured. The Revised Written Estimate essentially cancels the original estimate. Both you and the mover must agree to the changes, and this must occur before the shipment is loaded onto the truck.
Contact Your Global Van Lines Moving Concierge
You have both rights and responsibilities when you hire a moving company. If you have any questions about them, contact your personal Moving Concierge at Global Van Lines. We offer this service free of charge and with absolutely no obligation to you. Let us help with our vast network of already vetted moving professionals.