Non-Binding Estimates for Long Distance Moves – Beware of the 110% Sales Pitch

In an earlier post, we discussed briefly the types of estimates that you can be offered for your interstate move.  We strongly advise that you stay away from non-binding estimates.  Let’s be 100% honest, everyone doing this is a salesperson, and salespeople will use every tool they have in their toolbox to “get the sale!”   There is nothing wrong with it, just sometimes, the pitch doesn’t match the facts.

 

Below is the language contained on a National Van Lines “Non-Binding Estimate,” (and the final moving contract).    All Movers use similar if not exact language.

 
NON-BINDING ESTIMATE (Table of Measurements Required).

THIS REPRESENTS THE CHARGES FOR ONLY THOSE ITEMS LISTED ON THE TABLE OF MEASUREMENTS AND THOSE SERVICES INDICATED ON THE ESTIMATE. THIS NON-BINDING ESTIMATE IS NOT A GUARANTEE THAT THE ACTUAL CHARGES WILL NOT EXCEED THE AMOUNT OF THE ESTIMATE. COMMON CARRIERS ARE REQUIRED BY LAW TO COLLECT TRANSPORTATION AND OTHER INCIDENTAL CHARGES COMPUTED ON THE BASIS OF THE RATES SHOWN IN THEIR LAWFULLY PUBLISHED TARIFFS, REGARDLESS OF PRIOR ESTIMATES MADE BY THE CARRIER OR ITS AGENTS. EXACT CHARGES FOR LOADING, TRANSPORTING, AND UNLOADING ARE BASED UPON THE WEIGHT OF THE GOODS TRANSPORTED, AND IT MAY NOT BE POSSIBLE TO DETERMINE SUCH CHARGES UNTIL THE GOODS ARE LOADED ON THE VAN AND WEIGHED.

IF THE TOTAL TARIFF CHARGES FOR THE LISTED ARTICLES AND SERVICES EXCEED THE ESTIMATE BY MORE THAN TEN PERCENT, THEN, UPON YOUR REQUEST, THE CARRIER MUST RELINQUISH POSSESSION OF YOUR SHIPMENT UPON PAYMENT OF NOT MORE THAN 110 PERCENT OF THE ESTIMATED CHARGES. YOU ARE STILL OBLIGATED TO PAY THE BALANCE OF THE TOTAL CHARGES WITHIN 30 DAYS AFTER RECEIPT OF THE FREIGHT BILL. CHARGES FOR ADDITIONAL SERVICES AT ORIGIN OR DESTINATION THAT YOU REQUEST AFTER EXECUTION OF THE CONTRACT WILL BE ADDED TO THIS TOTAL AND WILL BE DUE AT DELIVERY.

 

A non-binding estimate will generally be less than a not to exceed estimate.  Compare what your charges “would be” if your shipment ships under the Vanguard Certified Estimated Weight, to the Vanguard Not to Exceed Price.

Its not a lot of fun to read the fine print, but, when signing up for thousands of dollars of moving expenses, it is incumbent on the educated consumer to do so.  Beware of the 110% promise!

 

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