1) Don’t suffer alone
It can be easy to brush off a house move which descends into an unpleasant experience. Perhaps, the movers turned up hours late or didn’t turn up at all. The removers may have damaged your property or forced you to pay for additional charges that they didn’t tell you about in the original quote. Whatever has transpired, tell someone about the experience. It can be a friend or a relative. Get their advice if you’re unsure how you wish to proceed.
2) Make contact
Once you have made up your mind to take it further, contact the removal company or man with van company who carried out the move. If it’s a small operation, ask to speak to a senior manager or the managing director. For bigger companies, contact the customer service team. In the first instance, try to resolve the matter by telephone call. Contact the company the day after the house move, or if the move took place over the weekend, contact them on the Monday. Remember that most companies in the removals industry rely on word of mouth. They will be just as anxious to resolve the complaint as you are.
3) The next step
If you have not received any joy from the phone call, the next step is to put the complaint in writing. Detail each point that you were not happy with during the move. Write in a clear and concise way. Avoid any unnecessary comments about the company or the team who carried out the removal. If in doubt about whether to send an email or a letter, send both. Some companies do prefer a letter in writing regarding a complaint than an email. With bigger companies, the complaints procedure is usually detailed on their website.
4) Contact BAR
Some of the bigger removal companies will be a member of BAR. If you’ve suffered a loss, damage towards property or want to complain about the service you’ve received, you’ll be able to contact BAR, who will look to a solution towards your complaint.
5) Other resources
Once you have complained to the removal company in writing and haven’t received a satisfactory answer, you can contact the National Guild of Removers and Storers (NGRS) who can look into the complaint. If they are unable to help, you can contact the Removal Industry Ombudsman. However, a company has to be a member of the Ombudsman scheme in order for the Ombudsman to pursue the complaint. If the company is not a member, you cannot contact the Ombudsman.
6) The last resort
In the case where a removal company is not a member of BAR, if you have complained to the company and they have not dealt with the complaint to your satisfaction, you will then have the option of taking the case to a civil court. This option should only be used as a last resort where all other avenues of the complaint have been exhausted.
The court system can only be used if you have suffered a financial loss of some kind. Taking a case to court can be very expensive, so think carefully before going down this route. If you win, there’s the possibility that you could get much more than the original financial loss that you’ve suffered. However, if you lose, you would need to pay the solicitor and the court costs.