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Canadian Association of Movers: Consumers Must Take Steps to Protect their Goods in Transit

The Canadian Association of Movers (CAM) recommends that consumers learn about the respective liability of movers and consumers during a move and take the necessary steps to protect their property

TORONTO, ONTARIO -- (Marketwired) -- 06/30/14 -- Moving a home filled with furniture and fragile property to a destination without any scratches, breakage or loss is the sign of a reputable mover. But damage to a customer's goods can occur even with the best trained movers. Now imagine what happens to goods if they are moved carelessly by untrained, scam operators using poor equipment, without insurance!

Who is responsible for loss or damage is the most hotly-contested issue in moving complaints. Consumers need to recognize the risks, understand who's liable and take steps to protect themselves. The Canadian Association of Movers has some advice for consumers.

Your homeowner's insurance probably does not cover your household goods in transit. It's important that consumers understand what the mover will do in the event of a problem. The consumer must ask important questions and get the answers in writing! Ask what happens if a chair is broken, the contents of a box that you packed are damaged, the contents of a box that the mover packed are damaged or your fine artwork is lost.

The liability for loss or damage is shared between the consumer and the mover. In law, a mover's liability is only $0.60 per pound per article moved and the consumer assumes the remainder of the risk. This means that for a 50-pound TV the mover's liability is $30. This coverage is generally not sufficient to protect the customer. Household goods, on average, are worth $10 per pound or more.

A reputable mover will offer to accept the customer's risk for a fee or include this coverage in the price of the move. The fee may be based on either the value that the customer declares for the goods or the $10 per pound average.

The mover is not liable for loss of or damage to contents of customer-packed boxes unless there is negligence by the mover.

If the consumer has to file a claim for lost or damaged articles, it's the mover's option whether to arrange for repair or replacement within limits of the mover's liability.

A mover is only required to replace or repair the lost or damaged piece or pieces of a set - not the complete set. The mover is not liable for damage to mechanical, electronic or other operations of articles such as radios, clocks, appliances and musical instruments, irrespective of who packed or unpacked them, unless the mover performed or arranged for servicing and preparation of these articles prior to the move. Neither is the mover liable for deterioration of or damage to perishables like food or plants. Remember that your computer is replaceable but the data it contains are not. So back it up and, at minimum, carry the backup with you if not the entire computer.

Movers are only liable for goods that are disclosed to the mover on the face of the contract - the Bill of Lading. If items are carried by the mover without knowledge and the customer claims loss or damage, the mover cannot be held liable.

Consumers should not put jewelry, money, stocks/bonds and important documents in with the household shipment, but should carry these themselves. Items of extraordinary value should be appraised before shipping to ensure that their valuation is understood by both the mover and consumer.

Remember that you must ask for an explanation of your risks and the steps the mover will take to reduce the risk of loss or damage. It's easier to fix a problem before it happens than to try to get compensation after the fact. Get all your agreements with the mover in writing.

And finally, your best protection in reducing your risk is to hire a reputable mover. Contact CAM for assistance in hiring a reputable mover who will provide professional moving services - a mover that subscribes to CAM's code of ethics, meets CAM's business standards and commits to mediation in the unlikely event of a dispute.

CAM works to remove rogues that are harming Canadian consumers and to assist consumers in finding reputable movers that won't cheat and abuse them. During 2014, CAM's Year of the Reputable Mover, CAM will be working to educate consumers about the pitfalls of using rogue businesses and on how to find a professional moving company. Good consumer relations and an industry with a positive reputation are in everyone's interest.

For further information: Contact the Canadian Association of Movers, Canada's moving industry trade association. CAM helps consumers by identifying good movers and monitoring movers' performance. Consumers should contact CAM at 1-866-860-0065; visit CAM's website, www.mover.net; fax enquiry to 1-866-601-8499; mail to PO Box 30039, RPO New Westminster, Thornhill, ON, Canada L4J 0C6.

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