Know who to complain to
Although many go smoothly, some moves can go awry. If yours is among them, you should first file a complaint with your mover within nine months from the date of delivery. After that, a mover has 30 days to acknowledge formal receipt of it and an additional 120 days to resolve the claim. If no agreement is reached, interstate movers have to participate in an arbitration program by law, but cases often don't reach that point, says Bisney.
In-state movers will follow specific state guidelines for settling complaints.
"There's no question most movers prefer to try to settle a claim than go through the expensive alternative of a lawsuit," says Bisney.
If you don't reach an agreement, AMSA may help by contacting movers on your behalf. It also has an arbitration program that may resolve certain cases.
The BBB also can act as a third-party mediator in a dispute, but it can't force movers to compensate you for lost or damaged goods.
You can also file complaints against movers with the FMCSA (call (888) DOT-SAFT), and the agency's website links to state agencies and guidelines for seeking compensation from local movers.