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).
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.