SOURCE: Canadian Association of Movers

Canadian Association of Movers

July 07, 2016 07:00 ET

The Canadian Association of Movers (CAM): What Consumers Need to Know About Moving Into Storage

CAM Recommends That Consumers Visit the Storage Space Before Contracting Services to Ensure the Company Provides Adequate Safety and Security for Personal Property

MISSISSAUGA, ON--(Marketwired - July 07, 2016) - Canadians-on-the-move often need storage to fit their lifestyle choices. Consumers should contract with a company that is reputable and that offers physical safety for their stored household effects. Damage to a customer's goods can occur even with the best-trained movers. Imagine what could happen to a person's goods if they are handled carelessly by untrained, scam operators using poor equipment, without insurance! Ensuring that personal property is protected in advance is much easier than trying to make a claim afterwards. Here's what the Canadian Association of Movers advises as consumers search for storage space.

Consumers need to completely understand the services that a moving and/or storage company is offering, their own responsibilities, the financial liability of the company in case of damage to or loss of goods, the security of the storage space and their ability to access their goods while they are in storage. If moving into a mini-storage facility, note that the facility is only responsible for the rental of the space and takes no responsibility for the contents of that space. A mover takes on a warehouseman's responsibility which includes some financial responsibility for the well-being of a person's stored goods.

Consumers should ask about any additional charges. There may be a non-recurring warehouse wrapping and handling charge for: wrapping furniture with felt blankets or other protective materials; mothproofing upholstered items; packing special items like mirrors; and servicing appliances to prevent the growth of mildew. Users may also be charged for warehouse handling services, such as palletizing or stacking a shipment; moving within the warehouse; and moving the shipment from within the warehouse to the dock for loading onto a van to leave storage.

Owners need to make sure they have a complete list of the articles that are going to be stored. They may have to compare their listing with the warehouse listing to get an explanation of the storage charges. The monthly storage rate is based on either the volume or weight of containers, or a combination of the two. The company may also have a minimum charge for storage. More will have to be paid for large, bulky items or ones with an unusual size or shape. Owners may also pay more if they pack their cartons poorly. They may have to consider disposing of some items to ensure the monthly cost remains within their budget.

If they can, consumers should visit the storage facility to see if it is clean, dry and rodent-free. They should enquire about climate control and check out the security system. Do they have fences, monitoring systems and visitor-access protocols? If the company tries to dissuade a consumer from visiting, this may be a signal that they do not have a proper facility.

They should check to see how property is stored. Sofas and other large upholstered items should be wrapped with protective materials to protect them from dust and damage and stored on sofa racks. Finished furniture should be wrapped to protect against marring, scratching or gouging. Rugs should be mothproofed, wrapped and placed onto racks. Mattresses, mirrors, pictures and other large, fragile items should also be wrapped. Refrigerators and freezers should be serviced to prevent growth of mildew in them.

Sometimes items have to be removed from storage early, such as winter clothing, a baby carriage or sports equipment. These items should be identified at the outset so the warehouse can place them into an easily-accessible spot as the goods are being moved in. If the items are not listed separately, an owner will likely have to pay for warehouse labour and handling charges for staff to search through the entire shipment and remove them. This can be costly and also increases the chance of a claim.

It is recommended that consumers who place household goods into storage should purchase replacement value protection. For full protection, it's recommended that the goods be insured to value and, for this, a customer will pay a monthly premium with the storage charges. If the goods are not insured to full value, the owner will suffer a penalty in the event of a loss.

Regardless, the storage company will not accept responsibility for fragile articles, such as lampshades, ornaments, paintings, china, glassware, pictures, books, etc., that are packed by an owner. Dangerous goods, perishable items and valuables are not acceptable for storage. The storage company also will not accept responsibility for the mechanical, electrical or electronic functions of pianos, radios, clocks, refrigerators, television and stereo sets, etc. Neither will the company accept responsibility for articles in drawers, trunks, cases, etc., nor for loss or damage from any other cause, unless depository insurance is purchased.

Consumers can contact CAM for assistance in finding an ethical moving and storage company that will provide professional moving and storage services -- a mover that subscribes to CAM's code of ethics, meets CAM's business standards and commits to mediation in the unlikely event of a dispute. The best protection in reducing risk to worldly possessions is to hire a reputable company at the outset.

For further information: Contact the Canadian Association of Movers, Canada's moving industry trade association. CAM helps consumers by identifying good movers and monitoring movers' performance. Consumers can contact CAM at 1-866-860-0065; visit CAM's website, www.mover.net; fax enquiry to 905-756-1115; mail to PO Box 26004, RPO Churchill, Mississauga, ON, Canada L5L 5W7.

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