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When movers damage your goods

india Updated: May 02, 2010 00:58 IST
Pushpa Girimaji
Pushpa Girimaji
Hindustan Times
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When you engage the services of a packer-mover to transport your household goods, you expect the service provider to make every effort to ensure their safe delivery. But do they?

If you see some of the complaints before the consumer courts around the country, you will see the agony that householders go through when their goods arrive not in one piece, but in many. There are complaints of expensive Yamaha pianos delivered soaking wet , of music systems and LCD TVs coming out a mangled mess: each complaint is a tale of horror. To add insult to injury, the packer, after charging a steep price for this “service”, refuses to indemnify the loss, as does the insurer engaged by him. Fortunately, the consumer courts have intervened and forced them to pay up.

However, I would suggest that when you do engage a packer-mover, consider buying an insurance policy independently, instead of paying the transporter for the insurance.

The advantage here is that you have a better choice vis-à-vis the nature of the policy, the insured value and also the insurer.

A basic cover, for example, may not cover damages caused from jolts, while an all-risk cover would pay for such damages too.

It is also good to have a proper valuation of all the goods being transported, item-wise. If you have receipts of purchase, keep them safe too.

Manish Chhabra: When I moved from Pune to Gurgaon, I engaged the services of an expensive packer and mover. I also took an insurance from him and paid a hefty amount for it. However, when the goods reached Gurgaon, I found many things damaged. Despite several emails and phone calls, I have still not got any claim money. How do I proceed?

Answer: First and foremost make an estimate of all the

losses that you have suffered on account of the negligence of the packer/mover. Send a notice (hard copy- acknowledgement due) to the mover detailing this and asking him to make good the loss within 15 days. This notice is absolutely necessary for you to file a case for compensation before the consumer court. Without this notice, to be sent within six months from the time the loss came to your notice, your complaint will be rejected. Once you complete this formality, you can file a case before the consumer court naming both the packer and the insurer as opposite parties.

In the case of Delhi Assam Roadways Corporation Vs. L. Sharma (FA No 107 of 2001) the National Consumer Disputes Redressal commission made two important points: one, that the transporter is liable for negligence and consumer courts can award damages in such cases. Before filing a case, it is mandatory for the consumer to issue a notice as required under Section 10 of the Carriers Act.

You can complain before the Insurance Ombudsman. The advantage of filing a case before the Ombudsman is that the process of dispute resolution is quicker and simpler, but the packer and mover will not be a party here. However you have to show proof of payment towards insurance. Also before you file that case, you need to check the terms of the policy. Or else, it is better to file a case before the consumer court.

Do you have any problems? Send in your queries to pgirimaji@gmail.com