What to do if your move goes wrong
Moving house is never the least stressful of times, though your removers should,
naturally, always do their best to make the experience as smooth as possible. In
the vast majority of moves you won't encounter major problems (assuming you
selected the right level of service in the 1st place) but what if you do? One advantage
of using a professional mover is that the removal associations operate a free conciliation service,
but, what about the others?
Professionals should not cause you problems, but if they do there is a strict
set of guidelines as to how any dispute should be dealt with. This process is regulated
by the industry’s professional bodies, which are the
National Guild of Removers and Storers and the British
Association of Removers. These both offer a free and impartial conciliation
service. “If the remover does not turn up or is late and you incur cost because
of that, that is the kind of dispute that is dealt with,” says Martin Rose of the
National Guild of Removers and Storers. “They don’t deal with anything around breakages
or insurance. That would be dealt with by insurance companies themselves.”. You
can read more about what is covered in our article about removals insurance.
If you are not happy with the outcome of the body’s dispute process
then you can progress your complaint to the Removers Industry Ombudsman Scheme,
who will deal with your problem impartially and independently of the industry associations.
A far more civilised prospect than chasing a man and van service down the street
waving a small claims court summons in attempt to get any losses back.
If you use an unregulated mover who is not a member of a trade then your only source
of redress will be through the courts, or possibly Trading Standards.
Making a claim at county court may sound daunting, but it is not as hard as it sounds
and it well worth considering if your remover is not accredited by a trade association.
You don’t need to hire lawyers and the process is inexpensive, though you do need
to ensure that you have a record of anything that went wrong in order to have a
chance of winning your case.
“The most important thing to do is to complain on the day and then confirm your
complaint in writing,” says Michele Shambroook, a spokesperson for the Trading Standards
Institute. “Just because you tell them at the time does not mean you have evidence
of your complaint. Set out why you are complaining and what you want. You need to
be firm but you don’t need to be rude. If you do not get what you want from the
removal company then the small claims process is not that difficult now and you
can even initiate your claim
online. The more evidence you have the more likely you are to win. Take
photos, keep copies of any letters that you write or any letters they send you.
If a neighbour saw anything then you can ask them to give you an independent witness
The main thing to remember is that a removal is, essentially, a contract between
yourself and whoever it is that you hire to complete your move. The more professional
a service you pay for the less likely it is that anything will go wrong. So, it
is important that you select the right serice in the first place. You shouldn't
entrust a man-and-van with a grand piano but, equally, do you really need a full
service move from from your student digs back to your parents' house?