Tips on moving – to make your move smooth

11 August 2013

NSW Fair Trading has produced a new fact sheet on removalists and today released 5 year figures showing consumer complaints and enquiries about the industry remained constant.

Since 1 January 2013, Fair Trading has received 173 enquiries and 213 complaints about removalists.

The most common complaints relate to loss or damage to customer’s property or dissatisfaction with the service and pricing or charges.

Movers can be shakers. Damage to goods during a move causes consumer distress and dissatisfaction. Fair Trading can help negotiate disputes between consumers and removalists.

NSW Fair Trading Commissioner Rod Stowe said consumers were protected by the Australian Consumer Law and should call Fair Trading on 13 32 20 for help with any problems.

“Good industry participants benefit from Fair Trading compliance and enforcement action and dispute resolution in the industry,” he said.

Complaints & enquiries relating to removalists chart

The new Factsheet

Hiring a removalist

While no one enjoys the hassles associated with moving, there are certain things you can do to help ensure your move runs smoothly. Before hiring a removalist, make sure you shop around and compare a few services first. Take the time to thoroughly research your options so that you can be confident you are getting a quality removalist service for the right price. You may like to:

  • read through customer reviews on independent websites to help you compare
  • ask friends and family to recommend a reputable removalist, one which they or a friend of theirs have used and were happy with
  • check whether the removalist is accredited by the Australian Furniture Removers Association (AFRA).

Australian Furniture Removers Association (AFRA)

Removalists who are accredited by AFRA must meet certain standards in relation to equipment, vehicles, premises and staff training needed to complete a professional move.

Questions to ask before you hire

Before you hire a removalist, find out about their service by asking some simple questions, such as:

  • What is the total cost of the move?
  • What exactly is included in the cost? Do they charge by the hour or is it a flat rate?
  • Are there any additional costs you may need to factor in?
  • How long will the move take?
  • If there are any delays on the day, is there an extra cost involved for storage?

Quotes and contracts


Always ask for a written quote before hiring a removalist company. To help the removalist provide you with an accurate quote, make sure you provide them with detailed information about your moving needs.

Ensure the quote provided is itemised and the removalist can account for every charge. If something is not clear or you require further information about certain charges, make sure you receive clarification before accepting the quote.


As with any other contract that you may enter into, make sure you have read and clearly understand it.

Ensure that the contract contains:

  • complete details of the service being provided
  • the pick up and delivery address, dates and times of the move
  • a household inventory of goods being moved (visit the AFRA website for an example of a household inventory list)
  • details of insurance for any loss or damage.

Always read carefully the terms and conditions of any contract and check for hidden costs. Be wary of prepayment or providing credit card details upfront in case you need to cancel or change your mind.

Removalist comparison website

The Australian Removalists website allows you to easily compare quotes from removalists in your chosen area.

You can request quotes from a number of removalists by:

  • selecting where you are moving from
  • selecting where you are moving to
  • completing a request form.

The companies will then directly contact you via email or telephone and provide you with a customised quote.

Insurance for your move

It is worthwhile arranging insurance for your move to cover your household goods in the case of damage or loss.

Removalists are not required by law to provide insurance for your things during a move. Most removalist companies only have insurance that covers their vehicle if an accident occurs. However, if the removalist company is accredited with AFRA, they will have Public Liability Insurance and are authorised to provide transit insurance for all goods being moved.

Transit cover insures your goods while they are being packed and moved by removalists, including any storage in the course of the move. If your goods need to be stored, you can extend your transit insurance to cover those goods during the storage period. This however will attract a separate premium.

If you are having problems

If your move does not go to plan or you are not satisfied with the service that you have received, the first step is to make every effort to sort out the problem directly with the removalist.

State what the problem is and how you would like it fixed. Make sure you put all your concerns in writing and keep all relevant documents such as signed contracts, receipts and quotes.

If you do not reach a satisfactory outcome, contact NSW Fair Trading on 13 32 20. You can also make an enquiry or lodge a complaint via our website. We provide free information about your rights and options to solve the dispute.

Well-informed consumers have a far better chance of successfully asserting their rights.