How to File a Complaint Against a Removal Company
If you experience any damages with your removal company, you will need to contact the company immediately. You should also check their insurance and whether they have a BAR membership. After this initial research, you can begin the process of filing a complaint against the removal company.
No matter how meticulous or careful your chosen moving company is, there’s always the risk that an item could get damaged during the journey - events out of everyone's control can occur and accidents can happen. If you’ve encountered issues during your moving day, there are a number of ways to dispute the damage caused and make a formal complaint or even claim against the removal company in question.
In the unlikely and unfortunate circumstances that you experience damage to your belongings, there are a few things you’ll need to know before disputing these claims and making a complaint. Compare My Move has created this guide to help you through the process in the instance that you may need to dispute a removal company for damage done.
- Are Removal Companies Liable For Damages?
- The Importance of Removals Insurance
- Does The Company Have a BAR Membership?
- Referring to The Furniture and Home Improvement Ombudsman
- What You'll Need When Making a Complaint Against a Removal Company
- How to Make a Claim Against a Removal Company
- Finding a Trusted Removals Team
Are Removal Companies Liable For Damages?
Your chosen removal company should be legally liable for any loss or damage that occurs during the transportation of your items. Any contracted service in the UK must be carried out with reasonable care and skill, within a reasonable time. This means that if your chosen movers damage anything during the process, you may be able to make a claim against them.
Most verified removal companies are meticulous with their work to ensure your belongings are safe during transit. When taking on a job, they also take on the responsibility of ensuring your belongings are handled carefully. However, accidents can occur and some companies can be careless. This is why it’s so important to compare and research the company before choosing.
Rest assured, all of Compare My Move's partners go through a strict verification process so you know you're working with a trusted and experienced team. It's worth including your specific requirements when requesting removal quotes from our trusted partners.
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The Importance of Removals Insurance
Before making an official complaint against the moving company, you need to find out whether or not you and your belongings are insured. Your items may be covered by Goods in Transit insurance if your removal company has specified so in writing and if they have packed your belongings for you. This will protect you from any damage that occurs during your move and ensures that all costs will be taken from the removal company if the worst should happen.
As standard, all removal companies that are partnered with Compare My Move must be able to provide evidence of having both Goods in Transit insurance and Public Liability insurance. Both these insurances protect you and your belongings from any accidents, damage or carelessness on the part of the removal company. They also ensure that appropriate compensation is made. There is also the option of taking out a removals insurance policy with an independent insurer for further peace of mind.
If you are not using Compare My Move, be warned that not every removal company offers Goods in Transit insurance or Public Liability insurance, so it’s always worth asking before signing any contracts. All reputable and trustworthy companies should be covered by these, but if they do not, take this as a red flag and be wary of continuing with them.
Does The Company Have a BAR Membership?
If the removal company does not provide Goods in Transit Insurance, you will need to check whether they are a member of the British Association of Removers (BAR). If you have a grievance with a removal company that is a BAR member, then the organisation suggests you confront the removal company first, within 1 year after the move took place.
The removal company must acknowledge your complaint within 3 working days of receipt before conducting an internal investigation into your claim. Following their investigation, you should receive a formal written outcome within 15 days of the complaint.
If you’re still dissatisfied with the outcome, you can contest their decision. The removal company must then provide a written statement expressing its final viewpoint. You should review the official BAR website if you would like more information.
Complaints made against a BAR Member are handled exclusively by The Furniture Ombudsman (TFO) whose Consumer and Member Services team can be conducted on 0333 241 3209. Should you still be dissatisfied with the outcome, you can refer your complaint to TFO which we will explain in further detail below.
If the company does not have a BAR membership but is a member of the National Guild of Removers (NGRS), you can take your complaint to the Removals Industry Ombudsman Scheme.
Referring to The Furniture and Home Improvement Ombudsman
The Furniture Ombudsman (TFO) is an approved consumer dispute resolution body that looks at providing resolution for disputes in the property sector. However, there are a few things you need to consider before doing this:
- You should only consult the property ombudsman after you have made a complaint with the removal company itself.
- Once you have received your removal company’s final viewpoint in writing, you can refer your complaint to TFO.
- You must refer your complaint to TFO within 12 months of your BAR member removal company’s final viewpoint.
A representative from TFO will guide you through the steps of proceeding with your complaint against the removal company. Should you need immediate urgent advice, or if you have any questions regarding this process, call the BAR Consumer Affairs Team on 01923 699 486 or you can fill out a complaints form online. You must contact a BAR representative first before continuing with TFO.
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What You'll Need When Making a Complaint Against a Removal Company
While each claim will be different, there are a number of things you can do to support your dispute with a removal company, especially if they have damaged your furniture and/or other items.
1. Take Pictures of the Damage
Before making a claim, it’s essential that you document any and all damage by taking pictures of all the items that were harmed by your moving company. Take photos from a variety of angles, especially close up shots to show the extent of the damage caused.
Pictures should be taken with good lighting and with a relatively high-resolution camera. Once you have these images, make sure you keep all pieces of the item together in a bag as further evidence.
2. Make an Inventory of Damaged Items
Alongside your photos, you should create an inventory of everything that was damaged and their monetary value to help strengthen your claim.
It may be difficult to come up with a monetary value for old items. But have a look for any receipts or their value in shops if something similar is still for sale.
3. Document All Contact with the Removal Company
Whether you are contacting the company by phone, mail, email or in person, be sure to document all the times and dates you spoke about the issue in question. Note down the dates of every conversation and be sure to keep copies of written material from both you and the company.
A good document to have is the contract you signed and a copy of the company's insurance if it was provided to you. While you should not need to use this information unless the issue isn’t easily resolved, it’s good to have this information on hand if required.
How to Make a Claim Against a Removal Company
If all else fails and you’re still unsatisfied with the outcome of TFO’s decision, you may consider taking your claim against the removal company to small claims court. Each claim constitutes a fee dependent on the amount of money you are claiming for, but to begin, you can make a claim online or via a physical form.
Following the outcome of the court, you will hear whether the defendant will have to pay you or not. However, if you’re still unhappy with your outcome, and the monetary value is under £10,000, then the court may refer you to the meditation service for you to come to an agreement with the moving company themselves.
It’s worth reiterating that it’s extremely unlikely for your belongings to be damaged during a move, especially with Compare My Move partners. All our removal companies provide evidence of insurance and have been through a strict verification process to ensure that they’re trustworthy professionals whom we would be happy partnering with. Our users are our priority and we aim to ensure that every removal is a positive and successful experience.
Finding a Trusted Removals Team With Compare My Move
To avoid these disputes, it’s always recommended to compare removal companies to find the ones most qualified, experienced and reliable. All Compare My Move partners go through a strict verification process so that you know you’re working with the best in the business. Simply fill out our quick and easy form today to get connected with up to 6 trusted removal firms near you.