Relocation Pitfalls

Removal & Storage Company Problems

Having finalised the buying of your ideal property in Spain usually makes you feel that all the main problems are over. However, if you are selling up your previous home and moving the contents to Spain there is one last factor that can spoil the happiness of moving to this lovely country. The quality of your removal company and the care they take of your affects. Below is our own sad story and some help.

Our experience was an unhappy one and did not match what initially seemed to be the promise of a reputable company offering an excellent service. They appeared to care and pack well, they held our items in storage for some eight weeks until we moved into our Spanish home. So far, so good; we advised them that they needed to deliver to our new address in the morning as the electricity was not yet connected and it was dark by 6pm. We were assured there would be no problem.

Despite confirmation regarding early morning delivery even on the day of delivery, they arrived as dusk fell 6.00 pm. Just one man and a teenager, it took over four hours with me (at 76) doing an equal share of the carrying to get it completed before midnight. I was asked to sign a delivery docket and was too tired to appreciate that there had been no time to count the 143 boxes or enough light to check the care that had not been taken of our furniture.

Next morning in the light of day we were able to see that our very expensive dining room suite, which had only been returned from an antique restorer in time to be loaded by the removers, had not been covered and had many knock and scuff marks. 3 large boxes of expensive items were missing and two items that were not ours had been unloaded.

We immediately contacted the company's head office and were told not to worry as a full investigation would be taken as soon as the driver returned from Spain. Reassured and with so much to do getting ourselves sorted out, time passed, and whenever we phoned we were repeatedly told not to worry they were retrieving our property and would be responding as soon as they had them in their hands.

A month passed very quickly and with still no satisfactory response I wrote claiming on the insurance.
The reply was from their solicitor, stating that we had no claim as any complaint should have been in writing within one month, any complaint outside that time was void. They also refused to accept that the two items delivered in error were not ours and would not collect them. Having also been innocently involved in a car accident we were too exhausted to take any further action. We gave up in disgust.

We have heard many stories of this happening to other people, I am in the process of contacting removal and storage companies to sign up to my fair deal list below. Until such time please try and get the removal company to agree the following 7 points.

Points to agree with your removal company before signing a contract:

  1. Find a removal company that will accept part payment on pick up with the balance on receipted delivery.
  2. Before you leave England contact the insurance company involved and ensure your furniture has been covered.
  3. Be sure to read the Insurance Cover rules on how and when to claim if there is a problem.
  4. Refuse to accept delivery after dark.
  5. Do not sign a delivery acceptance docket until you have checked every item and are satisfied.
  6. Insist on the deliveryman signing an acceptance of any damage or loss before he leaves.
  7. Lastly, if there is a problem, donít be nice and trust the remover, make an official claim well within the stated claim time, Have it recorded at the post office, keep a copy.
    If you donít get a quick response have a solicitor write to them before the time limit is up.

One company of note worth mentioning is All Place Removals Company, friends of ours have repeatedly used over the past ten years, having in my opinion proved their reliability and standard of service and with over 20 years experience I can recommend you give them a call for a no obligation quote for transport and storage requirements. Mention and they will provide Free packaging Materials and even special offers on storage. email

If you have been considering moving to any area in Spain, don't give up. We live here and find the people delightful. I'd not live anywhere else. Just be very careful, your legal adviser should check all the legal points but many of the queries I outline are not legal points, they are common sense items you should query yourself.

Before considering a property, please read about the other property purchase problems which may affect the enjoyment of your new home. They may also have serious financial implications and I would urge you to seek appropriate professional advice and assurance before proceeding with a purchase.

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