December 13, 2022

Can movers insist on payment before unloading my belongings?

Dear Consumer Ed:

I was told by my moving company that under Georgia law they can require that I pay them before they unload my furniture. Is this true?

Consumer Ed says:

Yes. Unless a consumer has made a credit arrangement with the moving company prior to the moving process, the consumer will be expected to pay for the move before his or her belongings are unloaded. The written estimate received from the moving company will generally specify which payment methods are acceptable.

For your protection, you should only use licensed movers. For a complete list of all licensed movers in Georgia, visit the Georgia Department of Public Safety’s Regulatory Compliance website at You may also want to check with the Better Business Bureau ( to see if there have been many complaints lodged against the company. If you are moving to a different state, you can use the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s mover search tool to check whether an interstate mover is properly registered with the U.S. Department of Transportation and to check its safety rating.

Licensed professional movers are required to provide you with a free, written estimate. It is a good idea to get estimates from several different companies and compare them. Note that quotes that are based on an in-person inspection of your space and belongings are generally more accurate. Your paperwork should specify the level of insurance coverage you will receive in the event that any of your belongings are lost or damaged in transit. Before signing a contract, make sure you have read it over thoroughly and understand all the terms of the agreement. Never sign blank or incomplete agreements.

For more information on how to make informed decisions before, during, and after your move, visit the Georgia Department of Public Safety’s Moving Guide.

If you have an issue concerning your move within the state of Georgia, you must first submit a written claim within 90 days to the moving company, which in turn has 90 days to resolve the matter. If the complaint is still unresolved after 90 days, you should contact the Georgia Department of Public Safety.

For out-of-state moves, contact the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration at

If you believe a moving company is improperly charging fees, failing to disclose what it is charging, or otherwise engaging in false or misleading sales practices, you can file a complaint with the Georgia Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division by calling 404-651-8600.

Submit your own question to Consumer Ed.  Remember…we do not give legal advice. Always consult a lawyer about legal issues.

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