Your Options When Movers Damage Your Property

Posted on by

Did your moving company deliver you bent boxes and a broken couch frame?

Movers are not perfect. They can, and do, break property during the moving process. And when they do, they are liable for the damage they caused.

When movers damage your property during a move, you have a few options. In this article, we will discuss these options and when each is best.

Ways to Make a Claim for Property Damaged During a Move

There are three basic ways you can ask to be repaid for damage caused to your property by a moving company.

  1. Issue a demand to the moving company – Write a formal letter to your movers explaining what you lost and what you expect to be paid for it.
  2. File a lawsuit – You can file a lawsuit for damages caused to your property. You’ll use state law for in-state moves or the Carmack Amendment for interstate moves.
  3. Apply for arbitration – If your movers are part of the AMSA, you can file for arbitration with the AMSA for $300. For interstate moves, you have a right to choose arbitration under the Carmack Amendment, and some moving contracts will expressly provide for it.

The easiest of these three is simply to issue a demand. Resolving your issue with the moving company is the quickest and cheapest way to get repaid for your losses.


When Each Option Is Best

Your first step in a dispute should always be to contact the moving company to ask for payment. In fact, it’s often necessary.  For example, if you don’t contact the moving company first, you can’t apply for arbitration.

If the moving company gives you the cold shoulder, it’s time to decide whether arbitration or a lawsuit is best.

Positives of Arbitration

  • Relatively cheap – The AMSA is only $300.
  • Easy – You file a couple documents and then attend a single hearing, which is far less than is required in most court proceedings.
  • No lawyer necessary – Arbitration is an informal process. You don’t need a lawyer to navigate complex court rules and procedures.

Positives of a Lawsuit

  • Little risk of bias – Arbitrations might be controlled by people, like the AMSA, who are slanted toward the moving company. This is not an issue for courts.
  • Formality – If you have high damages, the formality of a court might be the best way to go. It allows you to bring all recognizable claims, and will award you attorney’s fees in some situations. Additionally, you can get a jury trial, and a jury probably won’t like a scammy moving company much.
  • High stakes – If your claim is over $10,000, a civil claim is probably the way to go. You don’t want to put that much money in the deciding hands of an arbiter you don’t know.



How to Dispute a Moving Company’s Bill

Moving Contracts

What Is the American Moving and Storage Association?

Moving Company Dispute Resolution