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Decoding Moving contracts: Terms and Clauses

Both writing and understanding a moving contract are important. Moving contracts play a crucial role in legalizing the partnership between the buyer and seller of moving services and hence must be easy to understand, legally compliant, and unambiguous. As it lays down the foundation of agreement on terms of service, both parties must pay a lot of attention to how it is written and what it contains. Every reputed national moving company in the United States has a designated department to handle moving contracts as even a petty mistake related to them can lead to disputes and legal troubles. 

So, what is a moving contract, and what information you must be looking for? While it is very important to read a moving contract thoroughly, the reading will be of no use if you are not able to understand it. 

This post decodes a moving contract and its terms in the simplest language. But before, let us ex[lain what a moving contract is.

What is a moving contract?

A moving contract is a legal document drafted by a moving company to share the moving service details, inclusions, payment options, and other related specifics with the client for residential or commercial relocation. The ultimate aim of a moving contract is to minimize the chances of conflicts between the two parties entering it. 

Ignoring a moving contract can cost a lot to both parties involved. 

Key terms of a moving contract:

Moving contracts must be made crisp and easy to understand. There are a few terms that can be hard to decode for a layman. We have included several such terms below and explained them for your ease.

Assessing costs 

The moving company must consider certain expenses while estimating the cost of the move. These assessing costs can be different and commonly include additional charges, advanced charges, replacement coverage, and line haul charges.

Advance charges

These are charges paid before the move is completed. These charges are usually paid to a third party to perform a specific job related to the move. For example, you will want to get your utilities removed and installed at the new house. A professional moving company might have ties with a third party to extend such services and would ask you to pay for it in advance. 

110% rule:

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration formed the rule in 2003 to [protect the buyers from, moving scams. The rule imposes a cap on the payment under a non-binding estimate and allows the mover to charge only 110% of a non-binding estimate for household goods delivery. 

In simpler words, when you agree to a non-binding estimate, the mover cannot charge you more than 110% of the estimate. The only condition when the mover can charge you higher is when the weight of the moving inventory is higher than the weight mentioned in the agreement. 

Bill of lading 

An important term, Bill of Lading refers to a receipt that your moving company would offer you when they take possession of your goods. It also has the details of how, when, and where the moving company will be transferring the goods. The accuracy of the Bill of Lading is paramount and you must read it thoroughly before signing it. Keep it safe and handy as you will need it later if you find something missing from your inventory after the mover has delivered your goods to the agreed destination. 

Claims 

You can file a claim with the moving company if your items sustain damage or anything gets lost. How and when the mover compensates for such losses is important to understand and is written under the claims section. There are caps on time limits to file a claim, items that are covered under the claim, and much more to understand. 

Door-to-door service and door-to-port service

Most of the moving companies in America are door-to-door movers as they pick and deliver your items at the doorstep. However, some movers also offer door-to-port services and you need to know which type of services you have hired.

Estimates:

Binding and non-binding are the two types of estimates that moving companies offer. Under a binding estimate, you will have to pay a fixed price for the moving service assuming that the weight of the inventory is accurate. However, under a non-binding estimate, you will get the closest approximation of the amount you will be liable to pay. 

Storage-in-transit, or SIT

If you possess certain items that must be stored in a storage unit before being delivered to the new address, you will need Storage-in-transit, or SIT service. These charges are billed separately under Storage-in-transit or SIT.

Several other terms can make a moving contact strong and effective. You must be very attentive to the small details mentioned in the contract, no matter whether you are writing a moving contract or reading it. 

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