Why It’s Crucial to Read Your Tariff – Tariffs Reveal Hidden Fees
The Significance of Understanding Your Tariff
- What Is A Tariff?
- Moving Companies Don’t Always Verbally Go Over the Tariff
- How A Moving Tariff Helps Consumers
- The Advantage of Studying a Tariff
- Understanding Additional Fees
- Packing Services
- Large Or Bulky Items
- Hoisting Fees
- Elevator Fees
- Extra Stops
- Long Carry Fees
- Express Delivery
- Canceling Your Move On Short Notice
- Understanding Your Estimate
1. What Is A Tariff?
The moving and storage industry is complicated and without proper research or education, it can be taxing on you financially. Although there are many ways to save throughout the move to fit your budget, there are some additional costs that moving companies aren’t always upfront about with their customer. However, fortunately for consumers, moving companies are required to publish a document called a ‘moving tariff’.
A moving tariff is key for consumers to comprehend in order to reveal details such as additional costs or fees consumers aren’t aware of. It is, by definition, a legal document that is required to have set prices for each of their services. This is a way that a company is able to keep track of what it sells to customers.
2. Moving Companies Don’t Always Verbally Go Over the Tariff
You’ll notice that movers can charge extra under certain conditions for services you weren’t properly informed about. If a moving company doesn’t go over what some additional costs may be, commonly known as hidden fees, it is still your responsibility to cover those extra costs. Communication is not a quality that all moving companies share. This makes it difficult for uneducated consumers to understand additional charges. Now, more than ever, consumers must inform and prepare themselves by reading through a moving tariff. This is one simple way to protect yourself and your move from charges that are not listed, for example.
3. How A Moving Tariff Helps Consumers
Reading your moving tariff thoroughly is vital to prepare an appropriate estimate and budget. A moving tariff is a document that every single legally operating moving company must have. A tariff acts as if it is a menu, setting out their services and the prices or rates at which they provide them. The USDOT requires all moving companies to follow their tariff to the T. Each moving company is also required by the USDOT to have a published version of their tariff with them at all times.
4. The Advantage of Studying a Tariff
Use this to your advantage and prepare yourself for additional fees or costs by reading through this document. All of the hidden fees below, if they offer or charge for them, should be listed in their tariff and are therefore considered additional fees. Although they are generally called hidden fees, in reality, they are not as long as they are listed in the moving tariff. If they are not in the tariff, they are not allowed to charge you! It is advisable to double check all additional fees or charges that were not included in your original estimate.
5. Understanding Additional Fees
This is why thoroughly and completely reading every detail through your moving contract is critically important and could save you money. It is your job as a consumer to be informed and study these conditions and under which they may impose these hidden moving fees. Knowledge is power, and by knowing how to protect or prevent yourself from financial surprises or additional costs.
6. Packing Services
This is a service that many professional moving companies provide but it is also considered a hidden cost as well. If packing services was a charge they included in your estimate but you didn’t request it, then it would be an additional fee that would surprise you. However, if you find yourself wanting to have some or all of your goods professionally packed, movers can charge you extra for that. Just be aware that it is not included in your estimate unless you request it.
7. Large Or Bulky Items
We all have large items like furniture that we drag along with us during our move. Maybe a baby grand piano or a grandfather clock, something that needs to be relocated but what happens when there isn’t an elevator? The movers will have to take the stairs, meaning you will be dinged for every flight of stairs that piece of a bulky or large item needs to go up or down. This is one hidden fee many people aren’t aware of but should be prepared for. This additional fee should also be listed in the tariff the mover goes over with you.
8. Hoisting Fees
This is similar to the fee above and applies to the same type of goods, those that can’t fit through doors or other ways. In this case, items like large or heavy furniture will have to be disassembled so it can be moved or it may even have to be moved out the window! This is when the hoisting fees kick in. This kind of fee should really be something that is considered prior to the move and the movers should be notified as well so they are prepared with the proper equipment when they arrive to move your goods. The best way to go about dealing with large items is to measure them first to see if they’ll fit or not. This way you can let the movers know and you can budget the fee in if necessary.
9. Elevator Fees
This is yet another fee that may not be discussed, especially if you don’t let the movers know beforehand. If the movers will have to move everything by elevator then there will be a fee. However, if you are prepared and you pre-plan your move correctly, you might be able to reserve the elevator for the time you need to move your goods. If you can manage to do this, you may get out of paying the additional fee but it’s very situational, of course. This is another hidden fee, however, it should also be listed in your moving company’s tariff, so you should be aware of this if you are properly prepared.
10. Extra Stops Mean Extra Charges
This seems like a given, not really a hidden fee. If you are taking longer by making more stops or making any additional pickups, you should understand that this will increase your cost in the end. This way you are prepared for the cost of your move to be higher than what your original estimate was.
11. Long Carry Fees
If you live in a busy body city like New York City or San Francisco, for example, a fee may be applied if your movers can’t park their truck in front of your home, apartment, condo, etc. In bigger cities, this is more likely to happen but it can happen even if there is something blocking the way of the truck. Essentially anything that is blocking the moving truck or access to it, thus making it more difficult for the movers. As a result, it will cost extra.
This is because they might need to carry boxes and other household goods a further distance or require a smaller kind of moving vehicle. One way to prepare for this is to try and reserve a spot by contacting city hall or the city’s DOT and attempt to get a parking permit. Remember, this will all take time and preparation prior to the move. However, if not, don’t be surprised if you see an extra fee when all is said and done.
12. Express Delivery
Although this is listed as a ‘hidden fee’, it really should not be considered one. It is obvious that if you want to expedite your items, you need to discuss this with your moving company. Every move is situational, but in practically every case they will need to detail any extra costs you will need to pay to receive your good on an earlier delivery date.
Many people don’t understand that this is somewhat difficult for movers to do, which is why pre-planning and booking ahead of time is important. However, moving companies can make it work but pricing depends on a variety of influences, for example, whether it is a short distance or interstate move. Fees will most likely increase the longer the distance is for expediting your goods.
13. Canceling Your Move On Short Notice
This is very inconvenient for not only movers but for all business owners in general. Not only is it courteous to give the moving company notice before cancellation, but they generally have deadlines for you to cancel by. This is to make sure that they aren’t losing a hefty amount of money from a job because it gives them time to possibly book another job in its stead.
Once the deadline is passed and you’ve paid the deposit, typically the moving company has a right to some sort of cancellation fee. Every moving company is different, which is why it is so important to look through the paperwork so as to understand the consequences of canceling your move within a few days of the scheduled time.
14. Understanding Your Estimate and Your Movers Tariff
Many people underestimate the significance of obtaining accurate estimates, the rule of thumb is at least three. Once you find the right moving company and estimate for you, it is crucial that you understand what your estimate includes. Being informed is most important when moving, particularly when creating a budget.
These costs aren’t really hidden if you know about them in advance. Furthermore, all of these additional fees and costs should be written into their tariff, which is the menu of services they provide along with the rate or price that they provide them. Each tariff should be different, making it even more important to pay attention to detail. By reading the moving contracts over mindfully, you can avoid being shocked at the end of your move when your estimated cost has skyrocketed.