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Posted on 07-16-2015

When your moving within California...

California Moving companies are regulated by the Public Utilities Commission (PUC). Household goods moving companies obtain permits from the PUC after showing financial and safety fitness. They must also prove to the PUC that they have adequate insurance and they are subject to criminal background clearance by the California Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of Investigation. Office moves are not regulated by the PUC.

You can search through the PUC list of moving companies (list also includes passenger carriers, vessel carriers and private carriers) to determine whether the company has an operating permit, whether it is insured, the headquarters of the company, and more.

The Basics

Local moves are moves where the origin address and the destination address are less than 100 miles apart. These moves are done on an hourly basis and the hourly rate is generally based on the number of men needed to move you in a timely manner to your new home.

Moves that are done "on-site" or within the same building or complex that do not need for the truck to travel on a public street are not regulated by the PUC.

Intrastate moves are where your move is more than 100 miles between your current residence and your new home. These household moves are based on the weight of your shipment and any services that you may require.

In certain circumstances, some carriers may have minimum charges.  For example, on hourly moves, a carrier may charge a minimum of four hours even if your move takes only two or three.  Similarly, on distance moves, a carrier may charge for a minimum weight of 5,000 pounds.  So, even if the total weight of your shipment is 3,000 pounds, you may be charged for 5,000 pounds.

You should request a written estimate from two or more movers so you can compare prices.  Written estimates are binding on the mover.  All written estimates must be based on a visual inspection of goods and must show total estimated charges.  A verbal rate quotation (how much it will cost per 100 pounds, or per hour) is not an estimate.  Remember, verbal estimates are not binding.  To avoid problems in the long run, get any total cost estimates in writing!

Your mover must provide you with a copy of "Important Information for Persons Moving Household
Goods (within California
)" booklet prior to starting your move. They can give you the booklet in person or e-mail you a copy.

Liability Coverage

Items of extraordinary value, such as antiques, art objects, gold or silver articles, etc., should be separately described on the inventory and a value declared for each.  Be sure to list the items by description and value on the shipping document.  It’s best not to ship money, jewelry, important papers or other valuable personal articles.  Keep such items out of the reach of others and take them with you.

Included in your moving companies rate is protection against possible loss or damage at 60 cents per pound per article.  You may choose to purchase additional protection and set the value on your belongings for an amount that makes you comfortable.  Be sure to check any insurance policies you have before paying for additional protection.   If you are unsure, call your insurance agent.

1.Basic Coverage at 60 cents per pound per article ensures recovery at 60 cents multiplied by the weight of the item or the carton it’s packed in.Thus, if an item weighing 20 pounds is lost or damaged, you can recover $12.00 for that item (60 cents x 20 pounds).This is very minimal protection and your goods are probably worth considerably more.This protection is included in the mover’s rate.

2.Actual Cash Value protection ensures recovery at the actual cash value (i.e., fair market value) of your lost or damaged item(s), up to the total value you declare.The carrier may charge for actual cash value protection, and will state the rate on the Agreement.

3.Full Value protection ensures recovery at the full value (i.e., replacement value) of your lost or damaged item(s), up to the total value you declare.The carrier may offer deductible in combination with full value protection.You are responsible for deductibles unless the mover loses an item, refer to the section on Limitations on the Carrier’s Liability.The carrier may charge for full value protection, and will state the rate on the Agreement.

You can read more about FCV vs. ACV by clicking here

Your mover is not liable in a claim for loss or damage to articles in the following situations:

o  change in condition or flavor of perishables,
o  loss or damage caused by the shipper, including improper packing,
o  defect or inherent vice of the article, such as susceptibility to atmospheric changes,
o  insects, moths, vermin, ordinary wear and tear, or gradual deterioration,
o  mechanical or electrical derangement of musical instruments, electronic components or appliances, if there is no sign of exterior damage,
o  loss or damage caused as a result of any strike, lockout, labor disturbance, riot, civil commotion, or any act of any person or persons taking part in any such occurrence or disorder,
o  hostile or warlike action in time of peace or war,
o  breakage caused by normal handling of china, glassware, bric-a-brac, or other similar items, unless packed by the carrier, and liability of carrier for loss or damage shall be subject to your compliance with the rules for filing claims.

Paying for your move

Most movers insist that you pay in cash, by money order or certified check; and most will accept payment by credit card.

California law says you can not be charged extra for paying via credit card but some companies may offer a cash discount instead.

Your mover must relinquish your goods upon payment of total charge due; however, should these total charges be higher than the Not To Exceed Price or the amount of your written estimate plus the Change Order for Services (if any) and the driver requires payment of that amount, you should contact your moving company about what may be an overcharge.  If the matter cannot be resolved to your satisfaction, call the PUC for assistance at 1-800-366-4782.

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