Moving from Australia – Experiences and lessons learned.

Our experience with mover “Movements International Movers” was a real nightmare and has learned us a lot on how (not) to select your international mover. For other experiences with Movements International Movers look here.

Although Movements International Movers is accreddited by AIMA (Australian International Movements Association), we didn’t get an AIMA dispute result until now and will keep you updated here. (the website re-directing you to here may nog be kept up-to-date).

A. Our experience with Movements International Movers.

This year (2010) we have moved from Brisbane in Australia to The Netherlands in Europe. Movements International Movers was claiming to deliver a much better service referring to a list of accreditations, a lower price and (anonymous) referrals. We trusted them. This showed to be very naive and very stupid. Our move became an incredible nightmare. We ended up with

1. Much higher bills than quoted, (by surprise 2 weeks after removal, although we had moved less),

2. waiting for nearly 6 months before we got our goods delivered,

3. many items heavily damaged,

4. many, many items heavily molded,

5. items missing,

6. many items to be thrown away (heavily damaged and/or molded),

7. additional costs A$ 9.000

8. the mover at destination being astonished. This mover (hired by Movements International Movers to deliver the container) had rarely seen such a bad way of packing and loading a container, causing so much damage.

9. having to unpack everything ourselves. According to our contract with Movements International Movers unpacking would be done by the mover at destination. However they only asked (and paid) this mover for delivery of the container. Luckily this mover helped us out very well ! (Thanks to them !).

9. 6 months living on a camping site until our goods got delivered

10. emotional impact from losing items we were attached to


Movements International Movers was neglecting all facts and evidence proving their mistakes and even forced us to pay an additional huge invoice. They were not willing to ship our container and were keeping it in hostile until the additional invoice was paid.  Additionally they started to charge storage fees for keeping the container in hostile.

(more details may follow)

B. AIMA Accreditation helpful ?

We asked the Australian International Movers Association (AIMA) to help us. AIMA states on her website that the AIMA exists “to provide an independent disputes tribunal and to protect the interests of the public”. They advised us to pay the additional invoice and to start an AIMA dispute get our money back with additional compensation.  This is what we did.  Until now AIMA didn’t come with an outcome of a dispute. If this becomes a long story, we will openen a web page about our AIMA and our experiences to keep you informed and updated about the benefits and relevance of an AIMA Accreditation.

(update will follow soon)


C. Lessons learned

1. Look for references from people you know, don’t trust the selected testimonials on mover sites. Also don’t take the accreditations (e.g. from AIMA) too serious.

2. Evaluate (agree on, and check) packing materials. (Movements International Movers uses very weak (and small) boxes compared to movers earlier used by us. Many boxes came compressed out of the container damaging the items inside.)

3. Evaluate (agree on, and check) packing methods (Movements International Movers only used boxes and wrapping. Other movers use tailor-made boxes and combinations of wrapping and tailor made cartons.)

4. Let packing of the container (and sealing) take place in front of your house. (In their quote Movements International Movers promised to do this, but didn’t. Our goods were brought to another location where the container was packed. Probably this was done when it was raining and it could also explain the items missing)

5. Agree (and check) that goods are packed dry, in a dry container with moisture absorbers. (With Movements International Movers lots of water came into the container and they didn’t even use moisture absorbers (the movers unpacking everything were astonished). This was causing heavily molded shoes, bags, clothes, curtains, toys, etc. ).

6. Agree and check on how the container is filled, no heavy boxes/items on fragile items/boxes. (Movements International Movers didn’t and many boxes and items were crushed).

7. Include a very detailed list with all items that have to be moved. (Movements International Movers included a high level list and excluded (probably on purpose) many items mentioned by us. When we mentioned this, they were telling us that this wouldn’t be a problem, we should trust them. However, these excluded items (and small items form inside cabinets) were taken as an argument to send us a huge additional invoice. We sold beds and furniture after the quotation. This reduced the volume considerably, but was neglected as compensation for the excluded items.

8. Let the mover take responsibility for their estimations of the number of boxes required. (Movements International Movers came with far too low estimations. After packing we had to pay an additional amount for exceeding the number of boxes estimated)

9 Check liabilities in cases of non professional actions. (Movements International Movers doesn’t take any responsibility for all their non-professional activities causing damage.)

10. Agree on what you will pack yourself and don’t avoid conflicts during packing. Let the mover start after the weekend. (We agreed with Movements International Movers on this. Nevertheless on the Friday before the Monday and Tuesday planned for packing they came for several hours to start packing. We asked them to start packing breakables as agreed upon in the quote/contract. Although we asked them several times they insisted to start packing the things we were busy with (and were planning to finish during the weekend. After the move their additional packing was used as an argument for an additional invoice.)

11. Let the mover confirm that everything is according the quote on the day of removal. (Movements International Movers didn’t say anything during the days of removal. However two weeks later, after we arrived in Europe, they sent us a huge additional invoice and were refusing to ship our container before we had paid the additional invoice.)

12. Communicate your contract to the mover at your destination. (in our case Movements International Movers hired a mover in Europe for only the delivery of the container, while our contract was including unpacking an removal of packing materials.

13. If possible include a penalty for long delays. (Movements International Movers promised that it would take around 6 weeks. Instead it became around 25 weeks forcing us to live for half a year without our goods.)

14. If the mover delivers other/additional services, check the consequences. (Movements International Movers took our container in hostile)