What to do when furniture or belongings get damaged while moving house

Nothing puts a damper on moving in to a new house than discovering some of your furniture has been damaged, or you open up a box of broken glasses or plates, or worst of all, boxes are missing all together.
Consumer Affairs receive hundreds of complaints about removals each year. Most complaints relate to damaged and lost items during transit. Traders charging above quoted prices and delays in delivery were also high on the list. Here are some guidelines on what to do should you find yourself in this predicament.

Remove as much risk as possible by using a reputable and experienced furniture removals company. Checking for insurance covers etc
13000 MOVE U are fully insured with public liability of $20,000,000 and Transit Insurance is included in all our moves locally and interstate. Check that your own personal contents insurance covers your belongings during transit.

Get all quotes in writing.

It's a good idea to take photos of furniture and any other valuable or fragile items.

If you are moving interstate or intercity then keep a personal inventory, counting boxes and pieces of furniture, so you can check it off when it arrives at the other end and before signing off on any paperwork.

Enquire if your removalist charges a fixed price or an hourly rate. Check for any additional fee's and charges. Will there be extra charges should the move take longer than estimated? If there are delays that cause major inconvenience and are at the fault of the removal company then you can seek reimbursement for any loss or damaged caused by the delay.

Keep with you a list of contact details for any furniture removalists, storage units and any other logistics and insurance companies you may use during your move.

If you discover furniture or other items have been damaged during the move, contact the removal company immediately without hesitation so discuss your options. You can use the photos you took before moving to compare before and after transit condition.

If you incur a charge for moving that is substantially larger than what was previously agreed upon, you have the right to terminate the contract or you can insist the move go ahead according to the agreed charges.

If your furniture and belongings have been lost or damaged then the removal company many be in breach of Australian Consumer Law (ACL) and the consumer is entitled to compensation.

Contact your own insurance company to get assistance with recovering costs for damages.

If the trader fails to meet the consumer guarantees act under the ACL the consumer has a right to remedy.

If any disputes are not being resolved in a timely manner, then you can contact your state's Consumer Affairs office.

Consumer Affairs Victoria provide a free service that assist both parties in resolving disputes where resolutions have not been reached between the consumer and the service provider.