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What can go wrong with house removals?

It’s tempting of course, when choosing a removal company, to go for the cheapest quote. You may wonder why you should pay more. "After all, removal companies all do the same job of getting your stuff from A to B. What can possibly go wrong?"

What can go wrong with house removals?

In fact, quite a bit!  The internet is awash with horror stories and even videos of removal disasters. Which is why you need to think carefully about which removal company to use, and to prepare yourself as best you can for any eventuality. You can also see our article about How to Choose a Removals Company.

Possible problems include:

Damage to goods

If fragile goods are badly packaged or not handled carefully during the move, you may find some of your precious items smashed when you come to unpack. Large items such as furniture can get knocked, dented and scratched if the movers are inexperienced or careless getting things in and out of trucks, doorways and stairwells, or if there simply aren’t enough of them to handle bulky or heavy things properly.

If you have any concerns, unpack your boxes as quickly as possible as some removal companies’ insurance policies only cover them for up to a week after the move. In most cases, you will not be able to claim on their insurance after a week.

Damage to property

In a collision, for example, between a doorframe and a sofa, obviously your furniture could become damaged.  But you could also find yourself having to make good and redecorate in your new home, or compensate the new owner of the place you are leaving. Take photographs of the damaged area so you can ensure it is appropriately repaired and any insurance claims are supported.

Not having enough room on the van

If the removal company misjudged the volume of your goods, you could find that your move is delayed, or that some of your things are left behind for you to fetch from the new occupants later. Show the removal company everything you want to move so that they have the full picture and therefore send a vehicle of an appropriate size. 

Not having enough packaging material

Again, this can cause delays.  It can also cause them to skimp on packaging, which can result in breakages. Don’t forget you can use pillows and cushions to pad out crockery, save your newspapers if you want to wrap delicate ornaments and talk to your removal company about the mattress and picture wraps they have available.

Arriving late

If the movers don’t leave themselves enough time to pack up or to get to your destination, or if they get lost, you could find yourself having to spend the night unexpectedly in a hotel or on the floor. Ensure everyone has the correct postal address, mobile phone numbers and parking permits!

Losing things

It sounds straightforward enough to move goods from one home to another, but surprisingly, things do go astray. Sometimes a box goes missing, and entire cargos have even been known to show up at the wrong address! Ensure that your possessions are not left unattended on the street, in the lorry or in your garden. 

Demanding extra money

If you end up having to get more packaging material than provided for, or an additional vehicle, or if the move takes longer than expected and runs into an extra day, you may find the movers demanding more money (even though you will be feeling they deserve less!). There have been cases of the removal team then holding your property to ransom, or refusing to leave. You should ensure that your contract with the removal company has proper and fair clauses for over-runs. Ask in advance if you are in any doubt.

Not paying claims

Sometimes it happens that when things go wrong and you put in a claim, you may find you don’t receive your money even if you have been lead to believe you will. Again, check your contract and ask for proof of insurance so you know which insurance firm will be handling any claims if necessary.


It helps to discuss all of these issues with any prospective removal companies to check that you feel confident. Ask how many members of staff they are putting on the job, how much space, how much packaging, how much time they are allocating. Make sure your agreement is structured to cover what happens if things go wrong.

For more information about what to look out for when choosing a removal company, see Questions to Ask Your Removals Firm to safeguard as much as possible against disaster.

What price peace of mind?

Although you may be tempted to go for a man with a van for economy’s sake, it could end up costing you more money and more aggro. An established removal company will have more experience, a larger team, is likely to be accredited and to have insurance. Things will be less likely to go wrong, and you will be more confident that, if they do, you will be able to sort them out to your satisfaction. This will be good to know throughout what (with the best will in the world) is likely to be a stressful process of moving home.  

Have a look at our directory of removal companies. We work with hundreds of excellent firms who are rated by our users and all have in place the appropriate removals insurance. They are all happy to take your questions so you feel confident that you have booked a good, safe removals company. All the removal companies you receive quotes from when registering through reallymoving.com are signed up to our Ombudsman Scheme and agree to our Code of Practice, so you can be assured of a quality service and, if things do go wrong, your complaint will be handled promptly and appropriately.


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