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Moving Consumer "Bill of Rights"

Broward - Miami -Dade - Palm Beach

Each of the three county governments (Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach) have separate ordinances regulating moving companies. Most regulations within the three ordinances are similar, but each county is responsible for it's own enforcement. The following information provides consumers with a basic understanding of their rights and responsibilities when dealing with a moving company in the tri-county area. These ordinances only regulate moves that begin and end in any of the three counties

Written Estimates
Consumers anticipating a move are entitled to a detailed written estimate that includes ALL expected charges related to labor, transportation, packing, inventory, storage and additional valuation coverage. It is important for consumers to clearly designate and reveal all that is to be moved. Moving companies may charge for the estimate, but the cost must be fully disclosed and approved by the consumer. Moving companies cannot require that the right to an estimate be waived. The final cost cannot exceed the written estimate by more than ten (10%) percent (as long as there are no additions on the day of the move). The moving company must justify exceeding the written estimate. Broward and Dade Counties do not require the estimate, if the consumer's move date is 72 hours or less from the time the estimate is requested. In any event all three counties require the moving company to provide the consumer with a written contract (contract for services/ bill of lading) containing the total cost of the move and the consumer's written authorization (including signature) prior to starting any move.

Written Inventory
Consumers have a right to a written inventory of all household goods to be moved by a moving company. The moving company cannot require that the right to an inventory be waived, but the consumer may voluntarily waive the inventory process. The moving company may charge for the inventory, except that in Palm Beach County a moving Company must provide a "no charge" inventory when: a) the move is not performed point-to-point, b) the goods are to be placed in storage, c) the goods are not delivered on the same day they were picked up on, d) more than one consumer's goods are on the moving vehicle at the same time. All charges to complete an inventory by a moving company must be conspicuously disclosed to the consumer.

Written Contract
A written contract (often called a bill of lading or contract for service) is required to be prepared by the moving company and must be signed, timed and dated by the consumer (or his/her representative) and the moving company's representative before any work begins. The contract must conspicuously provide the "bottom line" cost of all charges associated with the move (i.e., inventory preparation, labor, transportation, packing materials/costs, storage and any additional valuation coverage).

Lost/Damage Claims
The consumer has up to 60 days (30 days in Palm Beach County) to notify the moving company in writing of any claim for loss or damage. If the claim cannot be satisfied in 30 days, the mover must advise the consumer of the status claim and reason for delay. The mover must satisfy or object to a claim no more than 90 days after receipt of the of the consumer's written notice. If asked to sign a statement acknowledging receipt of goods, consumers may make notations on the receipt as to known damage or missing items.

Moving companies operating in the tri-county area are required to be licensed/permitted by each respective government consumer agency. Consumers may call to determine the current license status of any moving company.

If a dispute is unable to be resolved with a moving company, please contact the appropriate government consumer agency immediately.

The above are general descriptions of the three ordinances regulating moving companies- More information may be obtained by contacting your county consumer agency.