People are usually duped by fly by night operators many of whom do not keep a constant name or phone number.
Insurers and activists say it is the responsibility of the person shifting from one city to another to ensure that his or her goods are insured before they are transported.
While a fraction of transporters may insure the client’s goods against loss or damage the reminder don’t offer any such coverage even if they claim to do so. AS of the International Consumer Rights Protection Council an NGO said up to 99% of transporters don’t insure clients’ goods.
The problem begins when people start believing the verbal claims of the transporter that the goods are insured.
Insurance firms said that if people want goods insured against theft or damage, they should take marine insurance policies which specifically over such goods. The average marine insurance may work out to around Rs 800 to Rs 1,000 for a middle class to upper middle class household. But it is worth the money. Such an amount would insure property worth Rs 2 lakh to Rs 4 lakh.
However policy holders should be careful with procedure if they hope to file claims for theft or damage. The client will have to keep a receipt of the goods transported. It he wants to make a claim, he has to get a damage certificate from the transporter refuses to give a certificate he must get the transporter to specify on the back of the receipt which items were lost or damaged.
The poll holder must then send a registered legal notice with an acknowledgement to the transporter within six months and attach a copy of these with the claim he files with the insurance firm. Many people are not even aware that goods can be insured against damage or theft.
Shock and grief from movers & packers:
The household goods transport business is a completely unregulated industry. While there are a few recognized movers and packers a majority of them do not provide good services. People are usually duped by fly by night operators, many of whom do not keep a constant name or phone number. If they divulge one mobile number, it becomes unreachable soon after they pick up the goods. Often, the goods are not delivered or are damaged in transportation.
UK (name) becomes emotional when she speaks of the stress her late husband went through last year while trying to get possession of their consignment of books which they had shipped from Toronto to Kolkata two years earlier. They did the booking in Toronto with a form that has an Ahmedabad office.
They had purchased books worth around Rs 35,000. There were books on gardening, birds and nature, which her husband loved so much. The consignment was supposed to reach Kolkata within a fortnight. But instead, it was sent to Mumbai. When her husband called them up they asked for an additional Rs 4,307. They had paid the entire amount in Toronto. Her husband agreed to pay the additional amount, but insisted on a receipt. The company executive refused to provide a receipt and the goods are still to be delivered. The couple then approached the ICRPC, which sent a legal notice to the firm.
BD booked his son’s goods from Mumbai to Jabalpur through a transporter having an office at Dana Bunder two years ago. For over a year, there was no sign of the goods.
We called up the firm and then complained to the ICRPC. They then delivered the goods. The motorcycle was delivered in a bad condition and the furniture damaged. It looked like someone was using the bike and only because they followed up did they get it back.
The small firms do not have adequate infrastructure and have tie ups with small time truck owners who do not take proper care of the goods.
His website now has a list of 13 transporters who the NGO cautions customers against using.
One Consumers activist Jehangir Gai said that small time operators do not have proper staff and the damage is done during transporting goods. These firms do not even insure the goods and most people are unaware of this facility.