Moving house? Know your rights

Know your rights: Each year Consumer Affairs Victoria receives hundreds of contacts each year about furniture removalists, they say you are much less likely to encounter issues if you know your rights.
Know your rights: Each year Consumer Affairs Victoria receives hundreds of contacts each year about furniture removalists, they say you are much less likely to encounter issues if you know your rights.

If you are about to move home, the chances are you will be planning to hire a removal company to carry your treasured possessions to your new home. Finding someone you can trust not to break, lose or steal your stuff is time well spent.

Consumer Affairs Victoria receives hundreds of contacts each year about furniture removalists and so they have put together some great advice about how to avoid the moving day blues.

According to Consumer Affairs Victoria, furniture removal companies have obligations under the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) called 'consumer guarantees'. For example, services must be provided with due care and skill, fit for any specified purpose and provided within a reasonable time, if no specific time has been set.

You may be entitled to a remedy depending on whether the problem is major or minor, this could include getting some or all of your money back, having the problem fixed, or other compensation.

Consumer Affairs Victoria's top tips include: 

Do your homework

Get online, search the company's name and find out what others are saying about them on review websites. Speak to family and friends who have used furniture removalists and ask for their recommendations

An accredited company

Consider choosing a company accredited with an industry body such as the Australian Furniture Removers Association (AFRA). AFRA members must meet certain standards of quality and service. AFRA also has a process to help resolve disputes involving its members

Read contracts carefully

If there is anything in the contract you do not agree with, or the contract is missing any details (such as when and what items are to be moved), either ask for it to be changed or do not choose that company. Do not feel pressured to sign a contract

Ask about terms and conditions, including any possible extra costs (such as if the move takes longer than expected). Get clear information about whether the cost is flat or charged hourly. It is best if you get all terms and conditions in writing before you move, and confirm them when the movers arrive

Insurance

Consider taking out transit insurance from an authorised removalist, or a third-party company. Removalists may have other insurance, such as to cover their vehicle in an accident, but are not required to provide insurance for your items if they damage or lose them during a move

Don't forget to take photos of items you pack, particularly expensive ones and remember, you are much less likely to have a problem if you are well informed about your rights and do not make any quick decisions.