Tuesday, January 20 2009
In our continued quest to keep our readers informed about real estate matters, we thought it would be helpful to examine all that is involved in moving. This is the first part out of the series of nine.
Here is a list of terms that you're likely to come across. Familiarize yourself with these and you'll feel more confident in your negotiations! These helpful definitions are taken or adapted from US Department of Transportation documentation and should give you enough info to help you start to pick a mover.
ADVANCED CHARGES - These are charges for services performed by someone other than the mover. A professional, craftsman, or other third party may perform these services at your request. We've even seen insurance costs listed as "Advanced Charges." The mover pays for these services and adds the charges to your bill of lading charges.
AGENT - A local moving company authorized to act on behalf of a larger, national company.
BILL OF LADING - The receipt for your goods and the contract for their transportation.
CARRIER - The moving company transporting your household goods.
DECLARED VALUE - The (usually self-reported) value of all of the items that you are moving. It's important to be as accurate as possible because the insurance will be based on this amount.
ESTIMATE, BINDING - This is an agreement made in advance with your mover. It guarantees the total cost of the move based upon the quantities and services shown on the estimate. Note: you should ALWAYS try to get a written moving estimate, even if it is non-binding!
ESTIMATE, NON-BINDING - This is what your mover believes the cost will be, based upon the estimated weight of the shipment and the accessorial services requested. A non-binding estimate is not binding on the mover. The final charges will be based upon the actual weight of your shipment, the services provided, and the tariff provisions in effect.
EXPEDITED SERVICE - Expedited service is an upgraded service that guarantees delivery by a specific date. This is NOT standard and if you do not opt for expedited service, you should treat the "delivery date" as a VERY ROUGH estimate (that is, in our experience you should add roughly 50% to the amount of time estimated for a long-distance move).
FLIGHT CHARGE - NOT an airplane trip! This is a charge for carrying items up or down flights of stairs. Charges for these services may be in addition to the line haul charges.
FULL REPLACEMENT VALUE COVERAGE - Insurance coverage that fully covers the entire replacement value of your goods. This is NOT standard and will cost you extra (generally quoted in dollars per $1,000 of replacement value).
FULL SERVICE MOVE - The most common kind of move, in which the moving company moves all of your items out of your current residence and into your new residence.
GUARANTEED PICKUP AND DELIVERY SERVICE - A premium service that guarantees pick up and delivery dates (your mover will provide reimbursement to you for delays). Often subject to minimum weight requirements.
HIGH VALUE ARTICLE - These are items included in a shipment valued at more than $100 per pound ($220 per kilogram).
LINE HAUL CHARGES - The charges for the vehicle transportation portion of your move. These charges, if separately stated, apply in addition to the accessorial service charges.
LONG CARRY - A charge for carrying articles excessive distances between the mover's vehicle and your residence (for example, if your driveway is inaccessible). Charges for these services may be in addition to the line haul charges.
MOBILE CONTAINER - If you do not have a full-service move you may be offered a mobile container, a large container in which you can load your stuff, usually wooden with a canvas cover. This is a less expensive way to move a small apartment, but requires more labor on your part. Great for a college move.
OPERATING AUTHORITY - This is the official certification awarded by the government that allows a mover to move your belongings between certain areas.
ORDER (BILL OF LADING) NUMBER - The number used to identify and track your shipment.
PEAK SEASON RATES - Higher line haul charges applicable during the summer months. This is why our checklist recommends you book early if you plan on moving during the summer!
PICKUP AND DELIVERY CHARGES - Separate transportation charges applicable for transporting your shipment between the storage-in-transit warehouse and your residence.
SHUTTLE SERVICE - The use of a smaller vehicle to provide service to residences not accessible to the mover's normal line haul vehicles.
STORAGE-IN-TRANSIT (SIT) - The temporary warehouse storage of your shipment pending further transportation, with or without notification to you (this is DIFFERENT than temporary storage). If you (or someone representing you) cannot accept delivery on the agreed-upon date or within the agreed-upon time period (for example, because your home is not quite ready to occupy), your mover may place your shipment into SIT without notifying you. In those circumstances, you will be responsible for the added charges for SIT service, as well as the warehouse handling and final delivery charges.
NOTE: Your mover also may place your shipment into SIT if your mover was able to make delivery before the agreed-upon date (or before the first day of the agreed-upon delivery period), but you did not concur with early delivery. In those circumstances, your mover must notify you immediately of the SIT, and your mover is fully responsible for redelivery charges, handling charges, and storage charges.
SURFACE TRANSPORTATION BOARD - An agency within the U.S. Department of Transportation that regulates household goods carrier tariffs, among other responsibilities. The Surface Transportation Board's address is 1925 K Street NW.,
TARIFF - A document (in whole or in part) containing rates, rules, regulations, classifications, or other provisions. The Surface Transportation Board requires that a tariff contain three specific items. First, an accurate description of the services the mover offers to the public. Second, the specific applicable rates (or the basis for calculating the specific applicable rates) and service terms for services offered to the public. Third, the mover's tariff must be arranged in a way that allows you to determine the exact rate(s) and service terms applicable to your shipment.
VALUATION - The degree of worth of the shipment. The valuation charge compensates the mover for assuming a greater degree of liability than is provided for in its base transportation charges.
WAREHOUSE HANDLING - A charge may be applicable each time SIT service is provided. Charges for these services may be in addition to the line haul charges. This charge compensates the mover for the physical placement and removal of items within the warehouse.