The Real Estate Council of Ontario has published the following tips for consumers.
After months of house hunting, you’ve purchased a great home that you’re excited to move into. But, there’s still the big to-do of planning the actual move.
If hiring a moving company is part of your plan, consider these tips from Consumer Protection Ontario, a consumer awareness program from the government of Ontario and partners like RECO.
Ask the right questions. Here are a few questions to ask when determining if they’re the right company for the job:
- Do they have liability insurance? While many companies have insurance, their plans often do not cover things that you have packed yourself.
- Will they do an in-person assessment before providing an estimate? You may want to steer clear of a company that says they don’t need to look at your belongings before coming up with a quote.
- Who is responsible for damage or loss? Be sure that the information provided is included in your written contract, if you decide to go with that company.
- Will the moving company store your belongings at a facility for any amount of time? If so, be sure to visit the facility. Be wary if the company refuses to show you its storage space.
- Ask for references and check them!
Shop around. Before selecting a mover, get at least three written estimates from different companies. Once you select a mover, make sure the estimate is part of your contract. This way, the mover cannot charge you more than 10 per cent above the estimated cost unless you agree to a new service or price or sign a change to your contract. This is the law under Ontario’s Consumer Protection Act (CPA).
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Get it in writing. All moving contracts worth more than $50 must be in writing. Under the CPA, your contract must include:
- The mover’s name, address and contact information
- A description of the service(s) and their prices
- The total cost that you will have to pay, additional charges that may apply and taxes
- Start and end dates for the service
- The terms of payment (e.g., will you pay by credit, cash or cheque)
Prepare for moving day. Once the big day rolls around, consider being on-site to supervise the pick-up and delivery of your belongings. Also, you may want to move valuable items (e.g., jewelry) and personal documents yourself. Once your belongings arrive at your new home, consider making a note of any missing or damaged items on your contract or inventory list before the movers leave. Finally, keep in mind that a mover cannot hold your items or furnishings to demand extra payment. That’s an unfair practice under the CPA and it’s an offense to do so.
Visit www.reco.on.ca. For more tips on hiring a moving company, visit the Consumer Protection website.
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