The zen of moving house: 10 tips when using removal firms

Moving house is one of the most stressful things you can do in your life – and the last thing you need is a problem with your removal company. Helen Dewdney, consumer champion and author of  How to Complain: The Essential Consumer Guide to Getting Refunds, Redress & Results!, advises on what to do if things go wrong.

1. Under the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982 you are entitled to receive services undertaken with reasonable skill and care. When you have appointed a removal firm, times should be as agreed and there should be no damage.

2. Check the British Association of Removers website to help you choose a removal firm. If anything goes wrong you can use the association’s arbitration scheme.

3. The National Guild of Removers and Storers also ensures its members are regulated and quality checked through the Removal Industrial Services Ombudsman Scheme. There is no cost to the consumer to use an ombudsman scheme and if you use one you can still go to the Small Claims Court.

Photo: Furniture Removals Christchurch

Photo: Furniture Removals Christchurch

4. If something goes wrong you should offer the firm a chance to put things right. If it can’t, or it is not possible to do so, it must offer you redress and put you back in the position financially that you were before any breakages.

5. Ensure you keep records of all agreements, such as time of arrival, costs etc. This way, you will have evidence should anything go wrong.

6. If you find breakages whilst the removal people are still working, you should mention this at the time and keep a record of any discussion. Mention that you will be checking the rest of the items over the next couple of days and will be writing a letter of complaint with costings for repairs/replacement.

Look for breakages as soon as possible

Look for breakages as soon as possible

7. It is reasonable to expect that you will take a few days to unpack everything, so you are within your legal rights to wait a few days before complaining. However, you should check all your boxes which might have breakages as soon as possible after the removal.

8. Complain in writing. List what was agreed and what went wrong succinctly, politely and in good English. If your complaint is regarding breakages list the items and costs of repair or replacement. If the firm were late in getting to you and you incurred extra costs, you should list these and request redress.

Don't shout - put your complains politely, in writing

Don’t shout – put your complains politely, in writing

9. Ensure that you state that the firm has breached the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982 and detail how. Explain what you want as redress and make it clear what you will do if you do not receive a satisfactory response – for example, proceeding with the Small Claims Court and claiming for out-of-pocket expenses and fees on top.

10. If you don’t get a satisfactory response from the company, you can try writing to the CEO. You can find their contact details at

Helen Dewdney also blogs at  


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