Are you moving? The following tips may be of interest to you before you hire a moving company.
The Office de la protection du consommateur provides advice to help you choose a moving company.
Choose a well-established company
Ask for recommendations from family or friends who have had good experiences with moving companies.
Contact 2 or 3 different companies to compare offers.
Beware of moving companies that advertise in newspaper classified ads and only provide a phone number as contact information. In case of a problem, you could have trouble tracking down the company.
Check whether the moving company is insured
Make sure the moving company carries a basic insurance that covers the objects and furniture being moved. This will make it easier for you to be compensated should any of your possessions be damaged.
Make sure the moving company carries a liability insurance covering at least $1 million. If the company is insured, you will be better protected in case any of your property or that of a neighbor is damaged or if a person is injured during the move.
Getting informed about a moving company
You can get further information about a moving company using the tool Get informed about a merchant (in French only). By entering the name of a moving company into the tool, you will know:
- if the Office has previously intervened with them;
- if it has received formal notices from other consumers.
Check the company's registration at the Commission des transports du Québec
If the moving company uses heavy vehicles, it must be registered to the Commission des transports du Québec's Register of owners and operators of heavy vehicles.
Make sure you receive an accurate cost estimate from the moving company.
Choose, if possible, a company that is located close to your home because you typically will have to pay for the travel time between the company's warehouse and your home.
If the estimate is done over the phone, provide as many details as possible. For example:
- a description of the layout of your home;
- the distance between the two addresses;
- the number of floors;
- whether there are stairs and elevators.
The moving company will be better able to evaluate the time needed to carry out the move. You will therefore receive a more precise estimate.
Are you moving to another city? Ask for a representative of the company to come to your home to estimate the move's costs and request that a written estimate be sent.
Terms of payment
Terms of payment can vary from one company to the next. Before moving day, ask your company about how it conducts its business.
The Office de la protection du consommateur provides advice to help you choose a moving company. The more details your contract contains, the better you will know what to expect.
Contract concluded by phone or online
If you plan on choosing a moving company over the phone or online, know that the law provides that a distance contract must be provided in writing.
Information to obtain before signing a contract
Before signing a contract with a moving company, it must clearly provide certain information. For example:
- their name, address, phone number and, if available, their fax number and email address;
- a detailed description of the services offered;
- the total amount you will need to pay and, if it applies, the amount to be paid on periodic payments;
- the terms of payment;
- the date and time of the move;
- the cancellation terms, if they are provided for;
- any other condition or restriction that applies to the contract.
Transmission of the written contract
The moving company must provide a written contract within 15 days after you entered into an agreement. This will allow you to verify whether the contract's contents correspond to the offer the moving company made you by phone or online. The contract must be presented in a way that allows you to hold on to it.
Content of the written contract
The contract must include your name and your address, the contract signature date, and all the other mandatory information the merchant must provide before you enter into an agreement.
Contract concluded in person
If you are thinking of going to the moving company's offices in person to conclude the agreement, know that the company is not required to provide a written contract. However, most reliable companies do provide one anyhow.
The Office recommends you always ask for a written contract. This will allow you to keep proof of your agreement. A written contract will make it easier to assert your rights if you are not satisfied with the moving company's services.
Information to be found in the contract
Make sure everything the moving company has promised is included in the contract.
The contract should include, for example:
- the hourly rate or any other type of rate the company charges;
- the date and time of the move;
- the number of people required for the job;
- the size of the truck;
- the detailed total cost calculation;
- costs charged for additional labour, if needed;
- the terms of payment.
Some moving companies may request a down payment before the move.
If possible, do not provide a down payment before a move, or pay only a very small sum. This will ensure that you will not lose your money if the company closes its doors or fails to show up on moving day.
Payments made over 2 months in advance
If the moving company requests a payment to be made over 2 months in advance:
- check whether the merchant has a trust account;
- if you need to give a down payment, write down a check payable to “[name of the merchant] in trust.”
A trust account will protect you in case the merchant goes bankrupt or closes its doors. The amounts deposited in such an account could serve as damages if something happens.
Contract concluded by phone or online
If you concluded your contract by phone or online, the moving company can request or accept an advance payment in only one case: if you pay by credit card.
A moving company should provide services that conform to what they advertise. Advertisements that contain misleading information or omit important facts are illegal.
Examples of forbidden advertising
You entered into an agreement with a company that advertised the exceptional rate of $30 per hour. Come moving day, four men come to your house. You then learn that the rate is in fact $30 per man, for a total of $120 per hour.
The company should provide this information when you enter into the agreement with it. Otherwise, it fails to disclose a critical fact.
The page Invoices featuring unexpected charges provides information about your recourse.
The Office recommends that you not sign any document before making a final decision to hire a moving company. Contrary to popular belief, you do not have the right to cancel a signed contract if you change your mind within 10 days.
The page Cancelling a contract provides further information on this topic.
Last update : February 28, 2023
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The information contained on this page is presented in simple terms to make it easier to understand. It does not replace the texts of the laws and regulations.