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John F. O'Hara

John F. O'Hara
731 W Skippack Pike  Blue Bell  PA 19422
Phone:  610-277-4060
Office:  215-643-3200
Cell:  267-481-1786
Fax:  267-354-6973

My Blog

Unhappy with Your Mover? 5 Ways to Get Some Satisfaction

May 21, 2015 12:48 am

Relocating is no easy task. Add in a moving company that offers a final price you don’t agree with or that delivers broken furniture, and the process can turn into a nightmare.

While moving troubles can vary, some issues tend to crop up more often than others. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration lists shipments being held hostage, lost or damaged goods, and delay of shipments among the most common moving complaints.

If you’re upset with the job done by the moving company you hired, you may want to take action—fast. Keep in mind, however, that quick decisions, such as running to file a lawsuit, might not bring the best results.

“Before suing movers, consumers should consider their options,” said Manuella Irwin, relocation expert at MyMovingReviews.com.

Follow these five steps to address the complaints you have about your mover and come to a resolution you’re satisfied with.

1. Check the Agreement. “The first thing you need to do is to look at the contract,” said Craig Miller, attorney and partner at Simeone & Miller, a law firm in Washington, DC.

Carefully review the terms laid out by the company in the agreement. Certain requirements may be included regarding how to handle issues you have with the company.

The contract may state you’ll need to notify the company of damage and file a claim in a certain period of time, such as within nine months of delivery. It also might note limitations about the amount of money that can be claimed.

2. Notify the Company. “The fastest and most efficient way to work things out is to talk directly to the movers,” Irwin said.

When getting in touch with the company, follow guidelines outlined in the contract. Also, keep a record of your communication with the mover. Note the date you initially contacted the company and describe your complaint. Then keep track of any responses you receive from the mover.

3. File a Complaint. If you’re unable to resolve the issue by dealing directly with the moving company, you’ve got other resources at your disposal.

In the case of a state-to-state move, you can lodge a complaint with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. For instance, if your mover disappears with your goods, you can notify the federal agency of the situation online or over the phone. Depending on the case, the agency may take enforcement action against the mover.

If your mover is a member of the American Moving & Storage Association, you can notify the group about your issue. “We always contact a member on behalf of a consumer,” said John Bisney, a spokesman for the association.

When you file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau, it will be forwarded to the company within two business days. The mover will be asked to respond within 14 days, and if a response is not received, a second request will be sent. Complaints usually are resolved within 30 business days.

4. Understand Arbitration. If your mover has made a final settlement offer to you that you’re not satisfied with, arbitration may be an option.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration requires interstate movers to have a neutral arbitration program in place. Through this setup, a third party helps settle a dispute between you and your moving company.

A fee is charged for arbitration, and it’s usually split between the customer and the moving company. Some moving companies might offer to pick up the charge.

5. Consider Further Action. If you’re thinking about contacting a lawyer, “look at how much money is involved,” Miller said.

Say a $200 chair was damaged during your move. If you hire a lawyer to help, and have to pay $400 in legal fees before the dispute is settled, you’ll end up losing money.

For claims involving a small amount of money, you typically can file a lawsuit in small claims court, Irwin said. You won’t need a lawyer to do this, and the fees usually are low.

If, however, the amount of money involved is large enough to justify the expense of a lawyer, it may be in your best interest to seek legal help.

Source: SpareFoot.com

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Home Sellers Getting Stellar Benefits with Solar Systems

May 21, 2015 12:48 am

For years, I have kept readers up to date on developments in solar technology. But it was always hard to pin down how much more value homes with solar photovoltaic (PV) systems could deliver at the time of resale.

According to the U.S. Dept. of Energy, more than half a million homes added PV systems in 2014 alone, in part due to plummeting costs and accessible financing. Remarkably, the DOE estimates if its SunShot PV price-reduction goal is reached, 108 gigawatts of residential rooftop PV will be installed by 2050 - that's 30 million homes.

Now, a breakthrough report from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory assures homeowners that as more PV systems become common selling features, the ability to value these homes appropriately will become increasingly important, facilitating a robust residential PV market.

Appraisers, real estate agents, and other property valuers have made strides toward valuing PV homes, and several limited studies have suggested the presence of PV home premiums. But researchers from LBNL and their partners have produced the most comprehensive PV home premium analysis to date - doubling the number of PV home sales analyzed previously.

The results impart confidence that PV consistently adds value across the study's 8 states, housing, PV markets, and home types. These data span from 2002–2013 and cover California, Connecticut, Florida, Massachusetts, Maryland, North Carolina, New York, and Pennsylvania.

The study used data on PV homes from LBNL’s "Tracking the Sun" report series with corresponding real estate information and information on similar non-PV homes. All PV systems in this dataset were homeowner owned rather than leased. The sample included only homes valued under $900,000.

The bottom line for homeowners is, home buyers consistently have been willing to pay more for a property with PV systems. And, the study finds only a small difference between PV premiums for new and existing homes.

Check out a fact sheet on the study here.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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