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What to Do When Movers Lose Goods

First steps to take to get what you’re owed.

By Craig Offman
Cardboard boxPeter LaMastro

The good news is the "white glove" movers you hired didn't drop your carefully packed box of Grandma's china. The bad news is they lost it.
 
What should happen: File a loss or damage claim with the moving company as soon as you discover the problem. (Numbering your boxes and making a list of their contents will make it easier to check that everything has arrived safely.) But beware: No matter how precious the dishes are to you, a moving company is obliged to reimburse you only for their monetary value―not for your emotional distress. And that, alas, doesn't amount to much: If you haven't taken advantage of a mover's additional insurance policy, the basic reimbursement rate is 60 cents a pound. (Check your homeowner's or renter's insurance policy to see if it covers household goods while they're in transit.) To avoid conflict, movers will often replace items that can be replaced, says Scott Ferree, president of the Illinois Movers and Warehouseman's Association―that is, dishes from Pottery Barn, not one-of-a-kind heirlooms.
 
If you're getting the runaround: The American Moving and Storage Association suggests a dispute-resolution program offered through the National Arbitration Forum for AMSA-affiliated movers. (For further details, go to moving.org and look under "resources.") The minimum charge is $225 per party, although some moving companies will pay the fee.
 
Learn how to find a reliable mover; read 12 Steps to Hiring a Mover.

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