But the folks at Bernard Movers, a moving company in Chicago's south loop that has been serving Chicagoans for 40 years, has some tips to relieve your stress and keep you from getting scammed:
1. When you’re moving in Chicago, your mover must unload your belongings if you pay the full amount of the written estimate.
If the moving company charges more than 110% of the written estimate, they are required to give you 30 days to pay the remaining balance and MUST unload your belongings if you 110 percent upon delivery.
2. You have 90 days to file a claim for loss or damage.
Once you file a claim for loss or damage, the moving company must acknowledge the claim within 30 days and pay, settle or deny it within 120 days. They also have the right to inspect the damaged property, so don’t discard or repair the item until consulting with them.
3. Movers in Illinois must be licensed with the Illinois Commerce Commission.
Any company that transports or stores household property on a for-hire basis must carry a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity from the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC).
This also means they have to comply with the ICC’s standards for insurance coverage and how they handle, load, move and unload your property.
4. A moving company is required to give you a free written estimate.
If your mover tries to get a fee from you to come out and inspect your home or goods, then you’re getting scammed. Even a mention of this is a good sign you should hang up the phone.
5. A “bill of lading” is required.
Your moving company can’t operate on a handshake. If you think they’re being anal about the process, understand that if they’re a reputable company, they must get a signed contract from you that includes their responsibilities, the services they’ll perform, when the move will happen, how they will charge for it and what their liability is.
(Important moving terms and definitions)
6. A Chicago Moving Company’s prices aren’t flexible.
If your mover is willing to negotiate a special deal for your move, they’re shady. Movers licensed in Illinois are not allowed to offer discounts or flat rates except those that are specifically outlined in the tariff published with the Illinois Commerce Commission.
A Chicago moving company is required to publish a tariff, or fee schedule, with the ICC that outlines all of the services and charges of the movers. The ICC holds all movers to those published rates, regulations and procedures.
For moves within 35 miles, fees must be based on an hourly rate. If your move is more than 35 miles but within Cook, DuPage, Lake, McHenry, Kane, Kendall or Will counties, it is also done on an hourly basis. However, if the move is more than 35 miles, you’ll be charged by weight and distance.
For more information on moving in Chicago and moving in Illinois, visit these sites:
- Bernard Movers FAQs
- U.S. Department of Transportation: Protect Your Move
- Illinois Commerce Commission
- Illinois Movers and Warehousemen’s Association
Brought to you by Bernard Movers: