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Denver & Boulder, Colorado

Buyers Tips

Moving Companies

To find out who the best movers are in your area, consumers should ask friends, relatives and co-workers for recommendations.

FOR ANY MOVES WITHIN COLORADO, DO NOT DO BUSINESS WITH A MOVER, (that provides trucks) THAT IS NOT REGISTERED WITH THE COLORADO PUC.

The Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC) requires that all household goods, (HHG) movers be registered and be issued an HHG number. However, the HHG permit requirement does not apply to those hired only as laborers for loading and unloading, nor does it apply to those that may be hired to drive the shipper's rented or owned vehicle. It only applies to movers who provide their own trucks/vans. All others should possess other types of insurance.

In order to be registered with the PUC, a moving company must file an application and provide evidence of continuing coverage for three different insurances: vehicle insurance, cargo insurance, and general liability insurance. Call the Transportation Section of the PUC at (303) 894-2070 for more information.

Note that movers are required by the PUC to provide a CONSUMER ADVISEMENT at or before the start of the move. This advisement must tell the consumer that intrastate movers in Colorado are regulated by the PUC and should have a PUC registration number. It should encourage the consumer to verify PUC registration as well as advise the consumer of the following:

-Unregistered movers are not allowed to withhold property to enforce payment.
-Movers must include their PUC registration number, name and physical address on all advertisements.
-To be aware that prices can change if factors arise that are not outlined in the parties' contract.
-An arbitration process is available to consumers if a dispute occurs.
-Consumers can contact the PUC regarding their rights and obligations and the advisement should include the PUC's phone number.

* Selecting a Mover

Once you've compiled a list of movers, contact them for additional information and to compare their services. Inform them of your destination and the timing of your move. Get at least three estimates. Obtain an in-home, visual estimate. Get the estimate in writing and know whether or not the estimate is binding. Reach a clear understanding about the amount of packing and other services needed. Ask whether the person giving you the quote is a mover or if they are acting in their capacity as a broker. A broker will subcontract your move to another company. Therefore, the person/company giving you the quote may not be the same company that moves your goods. Carefully compare each estimate to see which company best suits your needs and budget. If a price seems too good to be true, it probably is. Before the move begins, make sure that ALL documentation has been read and thoroughly understood. Do not "pencil-whip" the forms and blindly sign and initial everything that is presented to you. Check the company out with the BBB and also check with the American Moving and Storage Association (www.moving.org) to see if they have information on the company.

* What about Insurance?

Some consumers mistakenly assume that the moving company is insured to cover the full value of their goods at no extra charge. That is not the case. Unless you make specific arrangements, the mover generally assumes liability for the shipment at an amount equal to 60 cents per pound, per article.

Additional liability protection may be obtained, at an extra charge, from the mover. In the industry, additional protection is termed "valuation" and it encompasses the degree of worth of the shipment. The levels of liability and charges for each option vary. Assess the various options, check to see what might already be covered under your homeowner's insurance policy, and then purchase the coverage that best meets your needs. If a specific amount of insurance is requested, that amount should appear on the lading/freight bill and obtain a copy of the insurance policy that the moving company obtains. It is extremely important that you understand how much valuation and insurance you have obtained before putting your goods on the truck. If your salesperson/driver has not answered your question to your satisfaction, do not allow the move to begin.

Remember that the moving company must provide proof of their cargo insurance to the Colorado Public Utilities Commission in order to be registered.

* Claims and Complaints

Be physically present when the mover both loads and unloads your belongings to check that everything has been packed and arrives in good condition.

If goods are missing or damaged, make sure you report the fact promptly and in detail on the van driver's copy (the original) of the inventory sheet before you sign it. If you notice damage after unpacking, a claim must be filed in writing, with a specific dollar amount stated, within nine months after delivery. Report damage as soon as possible.

If the moving company is not responsive, contact the BBB where the company is headquartered to initiate the complaint process.

If you are having a dispute with a mover and they choose to not release your goods to you while the dispute is going on, they are NOT allowed to withhold the following items per PUC regulations:
* prescription medications
* medical equipment
* medical devices
* goods for use by children, including children's furniture (i.e. car seats, etc.), clothing, or toys
If you are in such a situation and feel the mover is in violation of the law or PUC regulations, contact local law enforcement and/or the PUC.


* Interstate moves

If your household goods are going to move across state lines, it does not fall under the regulations of the PUC. Locally, consumers may call (720) 963-3130 to reach the Denver office of the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Association. Nationally, consumers may call 1-888-DOT-SAFT (1-888-368-7238) to report a complaint or submit their complaint in writing to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Office of Public and Consumer Affairs. All written complaints must be submitted on the FMCSA Consumer Complaint Form.

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