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Making the right move

Making the right move

25 August 2014

Moving house can be both exciting and stressful at the same time. A major cause of stress is the safe relocation of your household items from your old property to your new location. So how do you make sure your worldly possessions stay safe during the big move?

If you’re using a moving company, shop around and ask for quotes, and before you sign any contracts make sure you’re happy with their terms.

Before you sign up, ask to see the contract up front
A lot of moving companies use online booking forms, and you may only get to read the terms and conditions when you’re just about to submit the form.

It’s a good idea to study their terms before you get to this stage. Make sure you understand who’s liable if things go missing or something gets broken. You may want to negotiate different terms, or use a different carrier.

As with any contract, pay attention to the exclusions. Some moving companies do not cover items like passports, watches, and jewellery. You may want to move valuables yourself.

The Carriage of Goods Act [www.consumeraffairs.govt.nz/for-consumers/services/moving-goods] contains rules about what a carrier is liable for if goods are lost or damaged during carriage. A carrier’s liability must be of one of the types below:
At owner’s risk: In this case, the moving company isn’t liable for any loss or damage – so you would be wise to take out your own insurance. An ‘at owner’s risk’ contract has to be in writing and the carrier must have provided a signed statement that reads: “These goods are to be carried at owner's risk. This means that the carrier will pay no compensation if the goods are lost or damaged, unless he intentionally loses or damages them.”
At declared value risk: Here the moving company is liable up to an agreed amount. They may charge more to cover the risk, but it could be worth it as you’ll save on insurance. The declared value terms must be in writing.
On declared terms: This is where you negotiate specific terms. It’s not commonly used unless you’re moving something that needs special care. These terms must also be in writing.
At limited carrier's risk: This is the default provision under the Act and applies if none of the other terms are specified in writing. The carrier’s liability is limited to $2000 per unit of goods.

A ‘unit of goods’ is each separate item given to the carrier e.g. six packages = six units of goods. Even if the carrier puts them all in one container they are still six units. But - if you put six packages in one container, then give the container to the carrier that is one unit of goods.

Under the Carriage of Goods Act [http://www.consumeraffairs.govt.nz/for-consumers/services/moving-goods ] you have 30 days to make a claim for loss or damage to goods. However, the carrier’s contract may specify a different period of time – perhaps just a few days. The carrier is allowed to do this, so it pays to check when you sign the contract.

The Carriage of Goods Act applies from the time the goods are collected until they are delivered.

Consumer Guarantees Act
The Consumer Guarantees Act [http://www.consumeraffairs.govt.nz/about-ca/contact-uswww.consumeraffairs.govt.nz/for-consumers/law/consumer-guarantees-act] applies to the quality of the service. It requires that services are carried out with reasonable care and skill and are fit for purpose. In the case of lost or damaged goods you may be able to get redress for things caused by a lack of care or skill which the Carriage of Good Act does not cover.

For example - the carrier unpacked their truck at your new address and left some of your furniture out in the rain, or the carrier did not arrive at the agreed time due to a scheduling mistake at their office.

Here are some handy websites that can help during your big move:
•Power Switch [www.powerswitch.co.nz] provides a free and impartial service to help New Zealanders find low cost power providers.
•TelMe [www.telme.org.nz] helps New Zealanders save money on your utilities. This free service allows you to compare prices on landline, internet, mobile phone, and pay TV services to work out which combination will work best for you.
NZ Post [www.nzpost.co.nz/receiving-mail] offers an online redirect and hold service for your mail. NZ Post also offers another online and free service called Change My Address [www.nzpost.co.nz/receiving-mail/change-address], which lets you notify registered businesses of your new details.

Need more information?
•Visit the Moving and transporting goods page on our website www.consumeraffairs.govt.nz/for-consumers/services/moving-goods.
•Visit the Quotes and estimates page on our website www.consumeraffairs.govt.nz/for-consumers/services/getting-quotes-and-estimates.

Check to make sure information is up to date
We want you to be certain the information you use is not out of date.

Contact us http://www.consumeraffairs.govt.nz/about-ca/contact-us to check information is still correct if this article is more than three months old.

ENDS

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