Federal law requires that movers advise shippers that they may inspect the tariffs that govern your shipment. Carriers' tariffs, by this reference, are made a part of the contract of carriage (bill of lading) between you and the carrier and may be inspected at carrier's facility, or, on request, carrier will furnish a copy of any tariff provision containing carrier's rates, rules or charges governing your shipment, the terms of which cannot be varied.
Incorporated tariff provisions include but are not limited to those:
1. establishing limitation of carrier's liability, the principal features of which are described in the valuation declaration section of the bill of lading.
2. setting the time periods for filing claims, the principal features of which are described in Section 6 of the bill of lading.
3. reserving the carrier's right to assess additional charges for additional services performed and, on non-binding estimates, to base charges upon the exact weight of the goods transported.
Although movers are not required to give estimates, most movers do provide estimates when requested. There are two types of estimates, binding and non-binding
3. BINDING ESTIMATES OF TOTAL COST
The mover may charge you for providing a binding estimate which must clearly describe the shipment and all services provided. When you receive a binding estimate, you cannot be required to pay any more than that amount. However, if you have requested the mover to provide more services than those included in the estimate, such as destination charges (i.e., long carry charges, shuttle charges, extra stair carry charges, or elevator charges) often not known at origin, the mover may demand full payment for those added services at time of delivery.
4. NON-BINDING ESTIMATES OF APPROXIMATE COST
The mover is not permitted to charge for giving a non-binding estimate.
A non-binding estimate is not a bid or contract. It is provided by the mover to give you a general idea of the cost of the move, but it does not bind the mover to the estimated cost. Furthermore, it is not a guarantee that the final cost will not be more than the estimate. The actual cost will be in accordance with the mover's published tariffs. All movers are legally obligated to collect no more and no less than the charges shown in their tariffs regardless of prior rate quotations contained in non-binding estimates. The charges contained in the tariffs are essentially the same for the same weight shipment moving the same distance. If you obtain differing (non-binding) estimates from different movers, you will be obligated to pay only the amount specified in the tariff. Therefore, a non-binding estimate may have no effect on the amount you will have to pay.
Non-binding estimates must be in writing and clearly describe the shipment and all services provided. Any time a mover provides such an estimate the amount of the charges estimated must be on the order for service and bill of lading relating to your shipment. If you are given a non-binding estimate, do not sign or accept the order for service or bill of lading unless the amount estimated is entered on each form when prepared by the mover.
If you are given a non-binding estimate, the mover cannot require you to pay more than the amount of the original estimate, plus 10 percent, at time of delivery. You will then have at least 30 days after delivery to pay any remaining charges.
To be effective, a binding estimate must be in writing and a copy must be made available to you before your move.
If you agree to a binding estimate, you are responsible for paying the charges due by cash, certified check, traveler's check, or bank check (one drawn by a bank on itself and signed by an officer of the bank) at time of delivery unless the mover agrees before you move to extend credit or to accept payment by charge card. If you are unable to pay at the time the shipment is delivered, the mover may place your shipment in storage at your expense until the charges are paid.
IF YOU REQUEST THE MOVER TO PROVIDE MORE SERVICES THAN THOSE INCLUDED IN THE ESTIMATE, THE MOVER MAY DEMAND FULL PAYMENT FOR THOSE ADDED SERVICES AT TIME OF DELIVERY.
5. SPACE RESERVATIONS, EXPEDITED SERVICE, EXCLUSIVE USE OF A VEHICLE AND GUARANTEED PICKUP AND DELIVERY
It is customary for movers to offer price and service options. The total cost of your move may be increased if you want additional or special services. Before you agree to have your shipment moved under a bill of lading providing special service, you should have a clear understanding with the mover what the additional cost will be. You should always consider that you may find other movers who can provide the service you require without requiring that you pay the additional charges.
One service option is a SPACE RESERVATION. If you agree to have your shipment transported under a space reservation agreement, you are required to pay for a minimum number of cubic feet of space in the moving van regardless of how much space in the van is actually occupied by your shipment.
A second service option is EXPEDITED SERVICE to aid shippers who must have their shipments transported on or between specific dates which the mover could not ordinarily agree to do in its normal operations. Another customary service option is EXCLUSIVE USE OF A VEHICLE. If for any reason you desire or require that your shipment be moved by itself on the mover's truck or trailer, most movers will provide such service.
Still another service option is GUARANTEED SERVICE ON OR BETWEEN AGREED DATES. You enter into an agreement with the mover that provides for your shipment to be picked up, transported to destination and delivered on specific guaranteed dates. If the mover fails to provide the service as agreed, you are entitled to be compensated at a predetermined amount or a daily rate (per diem) regardless of the expense you actually might have incurred as a result of the mover's failure to perform.
Before requesting or agreeing to any of these price and service options, be sure to ask the mover's representatives about the final costs you will be required to pay.
6. TRANSPORT OF SHIPMENTS ON TWO OR MORE VEHICLES
Although all movers try to move each shipment on one truck it becomes necessary at times to divide a shipment among two or more trucks. This may occur if the mover has underestimated the cubic feet of space required for your shipment, with the consequence that it will not all fit on the first truck. The remainder or "leave behind" will be picked up by a second truck at a later time and may arrive at the destination at a later time than the first truck. When this occurs, your transportation charges will be determined as if the entire shipment moved on one truck.
If it is important for you to avoid the inconvenience of a "leave behind," be sure that your estimate includes an accurate calculation of the cubic feet required for your shipment. Ask your estimator to use a "Table of Measurements" form in making this calculation. Consider asking for a binding estimate, which is more likely to be conservative with regard to cubic feet than non-binding estimates. If the mover offers the service, consider making a space reservation for the necessary amount of space plus some margin of error. In any case, it is prudent to "prioritize" your goods in advance of the move so that the more essential items will be loaded on the first truck if some are left behind.
7. ORDER FOR SERVICE
Moving companies are required to prepare an order for service on every shipment transported for an individual shipper. You are entitled to a copy of the order for service when it is prepared. The order for service is not a contract. Should your move be canceled or delayed or if you decide not to use the mover, you should promptly cancel the order.
Should there be any change in the dates on which you and the mover agreed that your shipment will be picked up and delivered, or any change in the non-binding estimate, the mover may prepare a written change to the order for service. The written change should be attached to the order for service. You and the mover must sign the order for service.
8. BILL OF LADING
The bill of lading is the contract between you and the mover. The mover is required by law to prepare a bill of lading for every shipment it transports. The information on the bill of lading is required to be the same information shown on the order for service. The driver who loads your shipment must give you a copy of the bill of lading before loading your furniture.