Scammed while moving house? Here’s how you can get redress
Delayed deliveries, damaged goods, stolen items. If you’ve been tortured by moving companies and packers during the lockdown, here are some remedies you can take
IIn November of last year, Meera Mohanty booked the services of a popular moving company when she returned to Tamil Nadu from Orissa. “I have Agarwal Packers and Movers Ltd. involved. They convinced me to book a separate container that they said I could lock up. But it eventually came with soaking wet contents. Despite the clear understanding that they would do the unpacking – including assembling the bed – I did most of it myself. I had to buy new mattresses and spend money treating wooden furniture. Some books are irreparably ruined. My written complaint remains unanswered, ”says the journalist.
In the same month, Sudhir Upadhyay booked the services of a company of the same name or almost. He moved from Pune to Uttarakhand and prepaid about 60% of the cost. The company said its housewares and car would reach Uttarakhand in 3-4 days. “I chose Agarwal Packers and Movers – Bade Bhaiya,” says the founder and CEO of the travel company Travstore. Upadhyay says the problem started during the packaging phase. “Halfway through the packaging, they claimed the products would not fit in the cargo vehicle and a container had to be booked. They increased the price at this point. Instead of a special container, the goods were delivered in a shared container. Several items were broken or damaged. “
In the case of moving services, the company is responsible for packing, transporting and unpacking the goods at the new location. As with Mohanty, the unpacking team never arrived at Upadhyay either. He had to hire workers. “I spent over £ 10,000 repairs on my car because it was damaged in transit,” he says.
A search on social media and online discussion portals reveals hundreds of such complaints filed against packers and moving companies during the lockdown. Many of them are against the company Mohanty booked. The complaints remain unanswered. Upadhyay, like many others, spoke to several company employees and posted complaints online, but there was no response.
According to Rajesh Gurumurthy, Senior Director at Jones Lang LaSalle, when companies switched to flexi working models, many people moved to their hometowns, making the services of packers and moving companies vital. “People faced challenges like high freight costs, late delivery, poor handling, interstate transit regulations, theft, poor quality packaging, etc.,” he says.
Meera S *, an Orissa-based professional, has been following several teams at Desk to Desk Courier & Cargo popularly known in the DTDC over the past four months. “A laptop was shipped from Kolkata to Orissa in October and I paid the risk premium too. Upon delivery, I noticed that the body was broken. While they have responded to complaints, no action has been taken and I work between departments, ”she says, hoping the problem will be resolved soon.
- Choose a company without proper research
- Rely on word of mouth only
- Pay the full amount in advance
- Let the packers and moving companies load and unload in your absence
- Select companies that offer below-market prices
- Courtesy of JLL
The pandemic has disrupted companies and ways of working. People have moved to be with families, those who have lost their jobs have returned to their hometowns, many others have had to move to other cities or to houses with lower rents. The demand for moving services is at its peak. And the complaints against them are also increasing. The forum consumercomplaints.in has among other things over 700 complaints against Agarwal Packers & Movers Ltd., 96 against Chennai Packers & Movers. Complaints range from damaged goods and late delivery to fraud and overcharging.
Navneet Agarwal, director at Agarwal Packers and Movers Ltd., says the main problem is that multiple players are posing as his company. “A Google search based on location shows local listings and unorganized players under our name. We have had an ongoing case with Google over trademark and verification issues for the past eight years. “What about real complaints about late deliveries and damaged goods? According to Agarwal, the claims process is on the company’s website. “When the lock came in, our drivers and crew left the cities and vehicles were stranded on motorways and in courtyards. Since we booked orders in advance, we had to make sure the teams did the job. Making up for damage and repairs is part of the process and we continued to do it through the pandemic. “
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The legal way
Customers have the right to sue packers and moving companies, says V. Kuberan, attorney with Rank Associates in Chennai. “Even if there is no specific law governing them, the common law remedy will arise under the provisions of the Goods Carriage Act / Road Carriage Act / Maritime Act / Air Transport Act,” he says and adds: / truck receipt / contract of carriage contains the general terms and conditions, which must be checked on a case-by-case basis. The liability of the transport company is limited to ten times the freight paid or payable, provided it does not exceed the value of the declared goods. “
In the case of the Delhi Assam Roadways Corporation against L. Sharma (FA No. 107 of 2001), the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission made two important points: first, that the carrier is liable for negligence, and second, consumer courts can award damages in such cases. Before submitting a case, it is mandatory for the consumer to prepare a notice in accordance with Section 10 of the Carriage Act. Experts say you can complain to the Insurance Ombudsman. The benefit of filing a case is that the dispute resolution process is faster and easier, but the packer and originator won’t be a party here. However, you will need to provide proof of payment for the insurance. You must also review the terms of the policy before filing this case. Or it is better to file a lawsuit in the consumer court.
Keep in mind
Before booking a company’s services, Gurumurthy suggests asking about their license. “Make sure you have one before you sign the contract and hand over your valuables. Second, find out if the packers and moving companies are accredited and look for partners like OMNI, FIDI, IAM, Worldwide ERC and BSI. “
Reading the terms and conditions and the fine print is important, as is the Company’s Substitute Value Protection Policy (RVP). For those intending to return to their city of work, he suggests opting for self-storage facilities. “These offer secure personal storage for short periods of time and also for the long term. With most businesses having decided to continue working from home through March 2021, this is a viable way to save on home rentals, ”says Gurumurthy.
* Name changed