Advice for Consumers

Advice for Consumers
Advice for Consumers

July 22, 2021 *update*

While all below is still applies as we weave in and out of restrictions, the moving industry is under tremendous pressure this summer with unprecedented demand, challenges with accessing moving materials (due to supply chain delays) and, like every industry in the world, labour shortages.  You may not be able to book a credible moving company on a specific date.  CAM recommends that you book your mover early and remain in contact with your chosen moving company on a regular basis so you can be apprised of any changes to your moving plan.

Also, moving scams in Canada are on the rise as unscrupulous operators take advantage of consumers when they are vulnerable and stressed over their move.  They take advantage of COVID by saying that they can't come and look at your move because they aren't allowed in your home.  That simply isn't true - there are many options to verifying how much you are moving.   The result can be unbearable painful for you - doubling or tripling your price (because the shipment was much larger than they expected), holding your items hostage until you pay exorbitant fees, massive damage to your items that will not be repaired or replaced, and unfortunately, theft.  We encourage you to do research on the moving company you are choosing by contacting CAM (see below - Search for a Mover) to get a selection of movers in your area that have been vetted and are considered certified professional movers. You can read more about moving scams in our consumer alerts section of the website.

 

June 4, 2021 - Consumers are facing delays and additional costs

Current lockdowns, travel restrictions, mandatory isolation requirements upon arrival in some provinces, or upon entering Canada, and labour demands are causing delivery schedule changes (mostly delays), as well as unexpected temporary storage requirements - all of these can result in additional costs and changes in plans that consumers will have to bear, possibly without any notice.  CAM recommends that you keep an open dialogue with your mover throughout your relocation, and to get any anticipated changes to your costs in writing so you have a clear understanding of the impact of any federal, provincial or local restriction being imposed. 

 

CAM has been monitoring these emerging trends in long-distance moves for several weeks now. While a failure to follow through on delivery promises is a common practice of scammers, we are now seeing situations where legitimate movers are having to put customers' items in “storage in transit”, or SIT, which means that they are having to store those items temporarily until they get an all-clear for the mover to complete the delivery. There are massive delays everywhere, in Canada and in the US, increased costs for the customer (because the delays are government-imposed and not in the movers' control or something they are going to cover the cost of) and a growing amount of service failures, because moving crews and trucks are already booked for other moves have to fit all of these delayed moves into the schedule now. There are actually blackouts by some van lines on servicing any moves to Atlantic Canada at the moment. Added to this is the fact that there is no storage available in Atlantic Canada, so consumers' things are being stored at the pick-up site or possibly en route in Toronto or Montreal. The situation will be improving in New Brunswick as the 14-day quarantine is going to be loosened to 5 to 7 days depending on a negative test starting on June 7th, so truck drivers will no longer have to have COVID testing done, which will be a huge benefit to getting the supply chain moving again. However, storage is still going to be required, so the consumer is still going to be facing increased costs for SIT. There are still going to be delays in deliveries, and it’s only going to get worse as the backlog grows as we are now in high moving season.

 

Search for a Mover

You can find a professional mover near you by entering your start location on our search page and then contact the ones you are interested in hearing from.  Or you can search, by name, CAM's member directory for local, long-distance or international movers, affiliates, van lines or suppliers.

 

Moving during the Pandemic

We are receiving a lot of phone calls from consumers wanting to have a definitive answer about moving during the COVID-19 pandemic. There is no definitive answer. In all cases, ensure that you have discussed with your mover a plan and have a clear, understandable strategy in place prior to booking your mover. Make sure you have adequate liability protection on your shipment.

Each province, and indeed some individual cities, have different measures in place than their neighbour.  You need to work with your moving companies – in the estimate stage – to determine what actions are going to be required by you and your mover.  This is particularly critical when you are doing a long distance move that takes you across a provincial/territorial border.

*new* May 4, 2021 - My Cowichan Valley Now: Organizations provide tips for moving safely during the pandemic . The Canadian Association of Movers (CAM) and the Better Business Bureau (BBB) have begun a collaborative effort to ensure consumers know how to safely pack up and move during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Here's a tip sheet with things to consider to pack up your house and move safely during Coronavirus.

 

Frequently Asked Questions 

Below are some anecdotal observations that have been passed along to us that you may want to consider.

Are movers open for business?

Yes CAM members are open for business. To find a certified, professional mover near you, visit CAM's home page to access our mover search function.

I want to get a move estimate.

CAM recommends that you have your shipment size visually confirmed with your mover. Now that vaccination rates are increasing and restrictions are being lifted, many moving companies are returning to in person home surves.  However, most credible moving companies have virtual survey software and can provide an accurate move survey without having to come directly to your home - or at least can zoom, Skype or video chat with you.  You can also email or text photos to your moving consultant.

I am concerned about my safety on moving day and any possible exposure to illness. 

Our members moving crews have been taking health and safety precautions with COVID-19 since the beginning of March 2020.  They know what they are doing and what is expected of them.  While there have been a few incidences of transmission early on, considering the hundreds of thousands of moves that have been made, the moving industry has a great track record when it comes to your protection.

Each moving company has its own protocols around how they would like to conduct the move.  We encourage you to understand those before move day, so you know what is expected of you.

If you are concerned about the people involved, don't hesitate to ask questions ... Ask your moving consultant about the workers who’ll be moving you.  Who’ll be handling your goods?  Have they travelled recently?  Have they had any recent illnesses?  Your moving company will want to know the answers to these questions as well.  At the same time, you should advise your consultant before moving day if you or someone in the home has been ill or have travelled to any infected regions in the recent past.  The workers will have their own concerns as well and will be taking precautions. Here's a short video from CAM member El Cheapo Movers Ltd. about some mover precautions.

For the protection of all, everyone in the household must wear a mask indoors at all times (customers and their families as well as all moving crew) while the moving crew is present.   Any tradesmen or others coming to the household during the move process must also wear a mask.  

I want to help the workers to take normal health precautions.

There are steps you can take while the moving crew is at your home. Thanks to Larry Kruger at McWilliams Moving & Storage for this short video on preparing for your movers.

  • Wear a mask and keep your distance.

  • While it is our custom, do not shake hands with the moving crew.  A simple “hi” will do.  Consider having a dedicated washroom for them to wash their hands; make soap, sanitizer or wipes, and paper towels available to them. 

  • Have your own pen handy to sign any documents, although many companies have gone to electronic paperwork.

  • After the workers leave, wipe down surfaces they may have touched, like taps, door knobs and railings.  Then, wash your hands.

  • And, as always, inform the moving crew as soon as possible, if someone in your home is sick, has been exposed to someone who has COVID-19 or has been in quarantine.

I want to move internationally soon.

  • Make sure you understand what’s happening in the world and where current restrictions are.  Things are changing rapidly.  What was safe today, may not be tomorrow.

  • Be patient – if you are planning on moving internationally, if you are able to, postpone your move until the situation is more stable in the country you are moving to.

  • Help your movers help you. Be informed and prepare yourself for possible delays, cancellations, last minute changes and ad hoc processes.

  • Use a registered moving company! This gives you the best chance to successfully move.

  • Be considerate – if you’re frustrated, imagine how it is for the moving company. This is their livelihood so they will do everything in their power to make your move a success, even if it doesn’t go perfectly.

So what if I have to go into quarantine or self-isolation?

You may be moving to an area that has a 14-day self-isolation/quarantine ruling in place for travelers.  It is important that you check your new location's rules. It is likely that your shipment will arrive in your new city before you are out of isolation/quarantine. There are options that you need to discuss with the moving company you booked your move with:

  • Assigning someone (who is not in mandatory isolation) to receive your shipment on your behalf.

  • Considering having your shipment “held” for a period of time so that the delivery occurs once you are free and clear of the 14-days. Most call this storage-in-transit. This usually results in additional fees.

  • Depending on the driver’s circumstance, and if you have only 1 or 2 days left until you get the “all clear,” you might be able to arrange to hold your shipment on the trailer. That would be a remote possibility, but worth asking about.

If you are isolating/quarantining in the home you are going to be moving into, then the moving company is under no obligation to deliver until you are safely past the 14 days. They will need to confirm that anyone in the house is free of symptoms and that you have properly sanitized all surfaces in the home prior to their arrival. It would be prudent to wear a mask while they are present. Any charges incurred for the delay would be your responsibility.

If the moving company agrees to deliver while you are still in your isolation/quarantine period, it is suggested that you isolate in a separate room without any contact with the movers during the move.  As well, if you have more than one washroom, designate one washroom for the movers to use for hand-washing. 

These are unprecedented times and flexibility and strong communication are going to be required by both the mover and the customer. It is your responsibility to make sure that you understand all aspects of your move, including forced delays due to government restrictions.

How many people can I have in my house on moving day?

To minimize your potential exposure, many of our members have suggested that you have only one or two people in the home while the driver and crew are present.  You must maintain the 2-metre distance as often as possible and wear a mask.  Therefore, it is recommended that you have your children out of the house while the crew is working as kids’ natural curiosity will have them in close contact with the movers.  

How do I prepare my home for the moving company?

  • Leave your items in the rooms that they are currently in.  Do not put everything in one room.  This allows the crew to work independently with physical distancing for some of the time they are in your home.

  • Disinfect all doorknobs, handrails, and bathroom and kitchen countertops. Do this before the crew arrives and immediately after they have left.

  • If you have more than one washroom, please designate one washroom for the moving crew to use to wash their hands.  Provide soap and a towel (or paper towel with a plastic bag to put the used paper in).  Please disinfect before they arrive and after they have left.

  • Have your own pen handy to sign paperwork, or have santizing wipes available to clean the pen, although don't be surprised if your mover has gone to all electronic documents.

  • Have everyone in the house wear a mask.

Will the moving crew use masks, gloves and other PPE?

Yes.  As an essential service, their lives depend on them staying safe.  

What happens when you are traveling to a location and there’s a mandatory 14-day isolation/quarantine? 

  • You need to go into isolation for 14 days – or until you are 14 days symptom free.  If you are not isolating in your new home, then you can designate someone to supervise the delivery of your shipment while you are in quarantine.  Please advise the moving company who that person is prior to the delivery day.  You can always Facetime or Skype in to boss your friend around to make sure things go where they should.   It’s very important to clearly mark your boxes as to which room they should go into.  Some people are colour coding the boxes (with a marker circle) and having the same colour circles on a paper taped to the wall in the room at the new house.

  • You decide to isolate in your new home.  It is very likely that your mover will not risk their crew being exposed to you until you are given the “all clear”, which means, it could be more than 14 days.  If the movers won't deliver while you are in quarantine in the home, it is very likely that your shipment would go into storage (at your expense) until you are clear of any symptoms.   If you have replacement valuation protection on your shipment, it would still apply to your shipment until delivery in your home.  You might be able to arrange with your mover to pick up your shipment from your current home and hold it until you are ready to receive it at your new city.  But remember that regular transit timelines for driving across the country apply and your shipment would be booked for the next available truck going to your new city, so there may be further delays than you think.

  • You isolate in your new home and you want to deliver to self storage.  Your mover could deliver your household goods to a self storage unit.  That would be the end of the move and the mover would consider the moving contract complete.  If you have replacement valuation protection on your shipment, the delivery to the self storage unit would be the end of that protection arrangement and any damages or other issues, if not discovered at the time of delivery to the self storage unit, would not be covered at a future time when you had your goods moved into your home because anyone could have caused the mishap.