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Take time to choose your mover and packer

More power to the consumer is our motto, whether buying rajma or a watch. Pushpa Girimaji tells you how to get empowered.

delhi Updated: Apr 21, 2012 23:57 IST
Pushpa Girimaji

Moving house? I suggest that you choose your 'packer and mover' very carefully. Get a list of transporters in the business of moving household goods and run a check.

And this is how you could establish the credentials of a packer and mover. Find out (a) how long have they been in this business? What is their expertise in packing? What kind of packaging material do they use? (b) What kind of vehicles are pressed into service? Will they ensure that your goods are transported without unloading or changing the vehicle during the journey? (c) Will they provide adequate number of experienced persons to unload the goods and unpack them? (d) How long will they take to deliver the goods and what is their grievance redress mechanism, if something were to go wrong?

Once you have shortlisted the transporters, check their track record by talking to friends and relatives who may have used their services. You may also check consumer complaint sites online to see if there are any grievances pertaining to them and if so, the nature of the problem.

Once you have made your choice, get a proper receipt for the payments made and ensure that all the goods being transported are listed, along with their description and valuation.

Once the goods are delivered and unpacked, check each one of them before signing the delivery receipt. If there are any damages or if some goods are missing, make a detailed note of it and get the representatives of the transporter, who have delivered the goods, to sign on the sheet.

Krishan Kumar: I am and Indian Air Force official. Following my transfer from Gurgaon to Thanjavur, I engaged a transporter to shift my household goods. It was to be a door-to-door delivery and the goods were to be transported in a single truck and delivered before November 25. However, the goods, which left Gurgaon on November 18, arrived only on December 1, that too in a different vehicle and broken. A large steel almirah is yet to be delivered. The transporter is not responding to my complaints and the notice that I sent to his Gurgaon address has returned undelivered. What do I do?

Answer: You will have to file a complaint before the consumer court for compensation on account of delayed delivery, damage to the goods and also loss of goods, besides violation of the terms of contract or service. You can also get compensation for mental agony and distress, besides cost of litigation and may be even punitive damages, given the behaviour of the transporter. The consumer courts may not be as quick as they should be in dispensing justice, but there are good case laws on this issue and you have a strong case.

You also don’t have to worry about the transporter not giving you the insurance policy.

The apex consumer court has made it clear that transporters are fully liable for deficient and negligent service and the quantum of compensation to be paid by them is not dependant on the insurance cover.

Transporters also cannot escape liability by pointing to one-sided terms, saying that ‘the goods are being transported at the owner’s risk’.

In Delhi Assam Roadways Corporation vs B.L. Sharma, the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission had emphasised that before filing a complaint, the consumer has to first send a notice to the transporter, as required under Section 10 of the Carriers Act. This notice has to be sent within six months of the date of delivery (of goods) and sending such a notice is mandatory.

So send a notice to the transporter through a friend in Gurgaon – let him personally deliver the notice and get the signature of the receiver on a photocopy.