While this information is applicable to moves within Palm Beach County, you should also consider if your move matches any of the following conditions:
Interstate Moves -- If you are moving to/from another state it is considered an InTERstate move. Interstate moves are regulated by the Federal Department of Transportation/Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Go to the
Interstate moving section on this website for more information.
Intrastate Moves -- The State of Florida has enacted laws regulating InTRAstate moves (taking place wholly within the State of Florida). The Florida Department of Agriculture/Consumer Services Division has overall responsibility for enforcing the state law. Contact the Consumer Services Division at
800 HELP FLA (435-7352) or via the Internet at:
The Palm Beach County Consumer Affairs Division has a cooperative agreement with the state to enforce the state moving statute. This agreement permits Consumer Affairs to enforce the law on intrastate moves where the offense took place in Palm Beach County, but where the move may have originated from Miami-Dade, Broward, Martin or St. Lucie County. For more information, contact the Palm Beach County Consumer Affairs Division
Broward and Miami-Dade Moves: Broward and Miami-Dade Counties have county ordinances similar to Palm Beach County. Local moving companies are required to be licensed by each of those counties. If you are moving from Palm Beach County to either Broward or Miami-Dade County it is possible that their consumer protection agency may be able to assist you. Their phone numbers are as follows:
Helpful Moving Hints
There are additional hints located on the FAQ's of our webpage at
Licensing: If doing a local move, be sure the moving company being considered is licensed to operate in Palm Beach County and/or with the State of Florida (Department of Agriculture Consumer Services). Broward and Miami-Dade Counties each have their own moving company licensing and regulations.
Reference Checks: Ask friends and relatives who have recently moved -- to recommend a moving company.
Look up a consumer dispute history and business information report for moving companies (and all other businesses). You can also call Consumer Affairs Division to obtain these "Business Information Reports".
Written Estimates: Obtain written estimates from at least three licensed moving companies. Insist that the moving company come to your place to see your household goods before giving a written estimate. Phone estimates are of little value and we discourage consumers from even requesting them of a moving company. The written estimate prepared by the moving company should include all the costs for packing and transporting your goods. It is your responsibility to fully disclose everything that is to be moved. Make sure you tell the mover if elevators or stairways are present at the old or new site.
Do not use price as the only factor in selecting the moving company best for you. The lowest or highest estimates do not mean the worst or best service
Brokers: A broker is someone who is acting as an agent for one or more moving companies. Brokers normally receive a commission for moves they arrange for a moving company. For moves entirely within Palm Beach County, brokers must only utilize moving companies that are licensed by Palm Beach County and/or the State of Florida. A broker can provide a written estimate, but the contract for service/bill of lading must be issued by the moving company actually performing the move. The broker must disclose the name and information about the company actually performing the move at least 72 hours prior to the move. Brokers are not licensed by Palm Beach County or the State of Florida. The Palm Beach County Moving Ordinance does require brokers to follow certain laws. For more information,
review the County Moving Ordinance.
Packing: Determine who will do the packing of boxes. The cost of the move will increase when the moving company packs your goods in boxes. Moving companies will not take responsibility for items broken in boxes they do not pack.
Valuation Coverage: Every moving company must provide minimum valuation coverage (similar to insurance) of $.60 (sixty cents) for every pound of every item damaged, destroyed or lost during transit. For example: If you have a 5-pound table lamp worth $300 and it is damaged or lost, the moving company is only obligated to pay you sixty-cents per pound - or a total of $3! Ask your moving company about the cost of purchasing "Additional Valuation Coverage". If you purchase "Additional Valuation Coverage" the moving company must provide you with a complete written explanation of the cost to you, what is covered, any deductibles and how a damage claim will be processed. The moving company must disclose if damaged goods will be replaced or repaired. Determine who will decide the value of damaged or lost items. Deductible: If the deductible is $250 and you have damage of $300, you would only be eligible to receive $50 from the moving company or the minimum valuation coverage of $.60 pound (whichever is greater). Check with your homeowner's insurance company to determine if your policy will cover repair and replacement of goods while being transported by a moving company.
Bill of Lading/Contract for Service: Prior to doing any work, your moving company MUST provide a "Bill of Lading" (or contract for service). If the move is totally within Palm Beach County your mover must also provide you with a
Palm Beach County (or Tri-county) Disclosure Form. Both the Bill of Lading/Contract and the Disclosure Form must be signed by you AND the moving company representative. Take your time and read everything carefully. Ask questions and understand what you are signing. The total/bottom line cost and the specific delivery date are required to be clearly stated on the contract for your review and approval.
Deposits: Moving companies must disclose deposit requirements. Deposits are limited to no more than 20% (twenty percent) of the total estimate of the move. Moving companies accepting deposits are required to perform the move (it can't be brokered to another company). If deposits are required and the move is cancelled by the consumer within 48 hours of the scheduled move (best to do it in writing/fax), the moving company is required to return the deposits.
Unloading: The total amount you are required to pay should be no more than the written estimate (unless you did not meet your obligations- i.e., failed to fully disclose all the goods being moved, failed to reserve the freight elevator, etc.). Under Florida State Law Chapter 507, the moving company must unload your goods at the final destination point if you have paid the amount shown on the written estimate or Bill of Lading. It is a felony criminal offense for a moving company to refuse to unload the household goods if the amount of the estimate/Bill of Lading has been paid by the consumer. The moving company may legally refuse to unload your household goods if you do not pay the estimate/Bill of Lading amount. In such instances, the moving company is required to inform you where the goods are being stored. You will likely also be charged an additional amount for storage.
Truck Signage: When the moving truck(s) arrives to pick-up your goods, be sure each truck has the name of the company, physical address, phone number and Palm Beach County moving license number (it is preceded with "PBC#") as signage on the vehicle. Each vehicle is also required to have a current year "Consumer Affairs" decal on the windshield.
Rental Trucks: Some moving companies on occasion must use rental trucks. If your company is using an obviously rented vehicle, look for a magnetic sign on the truck fully identifying the company and a Palm Beach County "temporary use" decal on that magnetic sign. The decal is a good indication and means the company planned for the possibility of using a rental vehicle.
Last Minute Changes: If anything changes on moving day and additional charges are required, an addendum to your Bill of Lading should be completed. Your signature of approval is required on any changes.
Payment of Services: Moving companies must accept two of the following forms of payment for services rendered:
The moving company cannot demand payment for the move until the shipment has arrived at the destination.
- Cash - which includes a cashier's check, money order or traveler's checks
- Personal Check - which shows your name and address
- Credit Card - which must include VISA or MasterCard
Damage: If your household goods are lost or damaged in the move, it is your responsibility to give written notification to the moving company within 60 days after delivery of your household goods. Your written notice should be very specific and clearly state that you wish to make a claim for compensation of lost or damaged goods. Normally, the moving company must notify you within 30 days of the action they will be taking. For a justifiable reason, the moving company can take up to 90 days to provide a written plan/response for resolving your claim.
PROBLEMS OR QUESTIONS: If your move started and ended in Palm Beach County, please call Palm Beach County Consumer Affairs,
561-712-6600 (Boca, Delray and Glades residents call toll free
If you are having a dispute with a moving company and the moving vehicle is still present, please call Consumer Affairs immediately. If possible we will dispatch an investigating officer to assist.