Are you covered? Part Three
IF YOU HAVE LOSS OR DAMAGE
If your goods are lost or damaged, be sure you describe such loss and damage by making notations on the carrier’s shipping order or freight bill. If the driver refuses, you should report this fact and the condition of the articles in writing to the home office of the carrier. Neither of these actions constitute filing a claim, but are made to support a claim to be filed later, as described below.
If you intend to file a claim for loss or damage to your goods, be aware that one of the required documents in support of your claim is a copy of the paid freight bill. This means that before you may file a claim with the carrier for loss of or damage to your goods, you must pay the carrier for all charges due for transportation services. This is because the handling and settlement of a loss or damage claim is a matter separate from the performance of and payment for the transportation service itself. If you do not pay the transportation charges, the carrier may not honor your claim.
HOW TO FILE A CLAIM
To file a claim you must:
- write the office of the carrier and describe the loss or damage.
- list separately the lost or damaged items.
- note the exact amount you are claiming for each lost or damaged item.
- give the date of your move, the origin and destination and the carrier’s order number.
It the damage is to packed items, you should retain the box, its contents and the packing materials. This is especially important if you did the packing since you will have to show that bad packing was not the cause of the damage.
Providing copies of documents such as store receipts for the lost or damaged items and professional estimates for repair will speed the processing of your claim. You should also retain copies of all correspondence with the moving company. In addition, all correspondence addressed to the moving company should be sent by Registered Mail, return receipt requested, to evidence receipt of your claim by the carrier
Your claim must be filed, in writing, within nine (9) months after delivery of the goods or within nine (9) months after a reasonable time for delivery has elapsed. Specific rules are set forth in Maximum Rate Tariff 4. The carrier is required to acknowledge claims in writing within 30 days and must pay, decline to pay or make a firm compromise settlement within 60 days of receipt of your claim. If some reason beyond the carrier’s control delays action for a longer time, the carrier is required to notify you in writing within 60 days of receipt of your claim as to its status and the reason for delay (with a copy to the PUC) and again every 30 days thereafter until final action is taken. If the carrier fails to respond to your claim with in the time limits and in the manner described in this paragraph, you should contact the PUC immediately at 1-800-FON-4PUC 1-800-366-4782. (See Maximum Rate Tariff 4, item 92 for more information on filing claims.)
The PUC has no authority to compel carriers to settle claims for loss or damage and will not undertake to determine whether the basis for, or the amount of such claims is proper, nor will it attempt to determine the carrier’s liability for such loss or damage. Il both you and the carrier consent, the claim may be submitted to an impartial arbitrator for resolution. You may also commence a suit in small claims court or other court of law. If arbitration or civil action result in a decision in your favor and the carrier fails to comply, contact the PUC.
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