During a house move, breakages are not unusual. But who is liable if damage occurs due to poorly secured furniture, careless handling, or accidentally?
Moving companies are within their legal rights to exclude certain liabilities from an agreement and thereby reject responsibility for damaged goods in some situations. What you need to pay attention to in order to complete your move with as little damage as possible:
Also move items yourself if they are of considerable financial or personal value, e.g. an expensive vase or a gift from a friend. This helps you avoid nasty surprises. If this is not possible, photograph the items and have them valued. Generally, it is recommended that all furniture and valuable items are photographed before the move. This enables you to supply proof of any damage incurred during the move.
Notify the moving firm immediately if you discover any damage during the move. You should only sign a work report or an acknowledgment that includes written acceptance of the damage by the moving firm. If the moving firm refuses to accept the damage, you should not directly pay the outstanding amount.
Alternatively, you can agree to deduct the amount of damage – should this be accepted and quantified directly after the move is complete – from the total charge and only pay the difference. Here too, a corresponding remark on the receipt is necessary.
If the firm insists on full payment or becomes unfriendly, inform the police immediately. If no agreement can be reached on site, a proper list of defects will have to be drawn up.
Damage must be reported by registered letter to the moving company no later than two to three days after the move. This is regardless of whether the damage has already been discovered during the move or afterwards. Include photographic evidence and a cost estimate with your letter.
In case of a flat-rate offer, the moving company should provide a detailed quotation (if necessary, following a visit). If the company does not visit your premises, the details you provide are definitive and should be truthful, or you will bear any additional costs.
If the offer made is based on cost (hourly rate), you must pay the hours effectively worked – provided that the contractual agreements (e.g. the number of employees or the size of the trucks) were observed.