California Public Utilities Commission Consumer Facts

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) regulates moving companies that perform moves within California. These moving companies must be licensed by the CPUC prior to operating.

Here are a few tips to follow before you choose a moving company.

Get the right mover

Moving companies that are hired three or more days in advance must provide you with a copy of their moving services agreement, and also an Important Notice.

About Your Move document, and the Important Information For Persons Moving Household Goods (within California) booklet. The booklet provides rules and regulations that a moving company must follow and information about your rights.

A moving company may provide you with an estimate in writing only after they conduct a visual inspection of the items you need moved.

Verbal estimates or estimates given over the Internet are illegal and may not be enforceable.

A moving company must provide a “Not to Exceed” price for all household moves. This is the maximum amount you can be charged unless you request additional services and those changes are then detailed in a “Change Order for Moving Services.” A Change Order cannot be used simply because a mover underestimated costs. Pay close attention to these documents because if a fee dispute arises, the moving company may demand that you pay the cost quoted on these documents before releasing your goods.

You may choose to purchase additional protection and set the value of your belongings for an amount that makes you comfortable. The Important Information For Persons Moving Household Goods (within California) booklet has more details on options.

Verify that a moving company is authorized to operate by calling 800-877-8867 or you can check the company’s status from the CPUC’s website at and click on transportation.

To file a complaint against a moving company, call 800-366-4782, or follow the “File a Complaint” link at Loss or damage claims must be filed in writing within nine months after your goods have been delivered.

Check list

Tips for Hiring a Moving Company When looking for a moving company:

Check with the CPUC to verify that a moving company is authorized to operate by calling 800-877-8867, or visit our website at and look under transportation.

Thoroughly research a moving company before hiring. When possible, visit the company’s place of business.

Check the company’s complaint history with the Better Business Bureau.

Do not accept a telephone or Internet “estimate”- they are prohibited and may not be enforceable. Estimates must be in writing only after inspection of goods to be moved.

Before anything is moved, make sure you receive and understand:

The booklet, Important Information For Persons Moving Household Goods (within California).

A moving service agreement.

The Important Notice About Your Move document showing a “Not To Exceed” price.

Any “Change Order for Moving Services” (if applicable).

Also, photograph or video tape your belongings to refer to if a dispute arises concerning charges and/or loss or damage. Get copies of everything you sign before the move begins. At the end of your move, the moving company should also give you copies of the completed documents.

July 2009

For more information please contact the CPUC’s News & Public Information Office at 415–703–1366 or

What moving company to hire