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Removal companies

Many people use a removal company to move their possessions from their old property to their new one. This is a service.

Choosing a removal company

Consider using a removal company that is a member of the British Association of Removers (BAR). BAR sets professional standards and has a code of conduct that its members must follow (which is approved by Trading Standards). It also provides a complaints and disputes resolution service.

Try to get 3 or more quotations from different removal companies. This will probably include a brief visit from each one to assess your belongings. This is sometimes done for free.

The quote will usually be based on the expected number of hours needed to complete the move, as well as extras, such as special containers needed, carpet laying, packing/unpacking etc.

Think about how much work you're willing to do yourself. Some removal companies offer a service in addition to moving all your belongings for you. For example, they might also pack them up at your old property and unpack them in your new one.


Check whether your household contents insurance covers you for damage during the move. You should also make sure your removal firm is covered for insurance and ask to see their insurance policy before reaching an agreement.

Damages caused by the removal company

By law, any contract for services must be carried out with reasonable care and skill, within a reasonable time and at a reasonable cost. The 'care and skill' that you can expect is the same that a reasonable person can expect from a reasonably competent removals company of their particular quality or reputation.

Therefore, if the removal company damages anything during the move, you might have a claim against it.

Additionally, a removal company is legally responsible for any damage done while your property is in their possession as they must take reasonable care of it under the law of 'bailment' (in England and Wales) or 'custody' (in Scotland).

If the removal company causes damage in the process of the removal, contact the company as soon as you can, explain the problem and give them the chance to correct it. Keep a record of all contact, including dates, times and what was said.

If you don't get the outcome you want, write to the manager and send a copy to any trade association the company belongs to. The association may be able to resolve the dispute.

See Introduction to your legal rights for more information.

What is the law guide

The Desktop Lawyer law guide aims to present the law to you in a comprehensive yet jargon-free and easy-to-read format. Our law guide is constantly kept up to date with changes in business and family law by our team of in house solicitors, and includes information across all the legal jurisdictions in the UK.

Our law guide is free to use. Where we provide documents related to this area of law, or where they may help you with any legal issue in this area, they will be listed to the right of this message.