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While expatriates have long – and rightfully – bemoaned the lengthy process and seemingly endless government bureaucracy associated with immigrating to Canada, a recent spate of complaints has brought credence to another well-known complaint coming from immigrants. Namely, the process of shipping all of their belongings to Canada.
In fact, a recent study revealed that, after administrative issues, shipping was named as the most difficult part of the moving process by a group of recent Canadian immigrants. Problems cited ranged from unethical shipping companies, to the difficulty of understanding the laws and regulations to the flat out loss of possessions by immigrants that was never recovered.
One victim of some of the above circumstances was willing to share her story with us on condition of anonymity for her and the shipping company involved as her case against the company is still ongoing and yet to be resolved. While she did not want to give names for fear of reprisal by the company (which would possibly result in her not ever receiving her things), she was willing to describe the nightmare she has gone through in detail.
“My family and I were emigrating from the USA to Toronto, Canada this past summer. After a lengthy process of researching various shipping companies to use, we finally settled on one whom, while not the cheapest, seemed to be the most reliable. They came to our home to pack and load our things and were far from the most courteous people. ‘No big deal,’ we thought. However, at the end of the packing, it was discovered that there was not enough room on the vehicle and they would return later for the rest. ‘No problem,’ they said.”
Needless to say, they never returned. However, as she continued, that was only the start.
“After moving to Canada, we contacted the company about claiming our things and were shocked when we were told that the move was actually a bigger job than they had originally thought. They demanded a fee that was almost 25% higher than what was originally quoted with the threat that, if we don’t pay, we will not see our stuff. This is where we currently stand with them.”
While the unfortunate case of this immigrant is indeed extreme, it should not be looked at as rare by any sense of the imagination. The shipping process has gotten more and more difficult to navigate and companies have gotten more and more ruthless with the morally questionable ethics they are willing to use.
The question is what can potential immigrants do to ensure that scenarios such as the above do not happen to them? While there are no clear cut answers to this question there are a number of precautions that can be taken to avoid a similar fate. Among them:
· Do your due diligence when deciding to immigrate and search for a shipping company
· Make sure the company you choose to work with is fully bonded and accredited
· Be sure to check references from people who have used the company and were happy with the experience
· Make sure to get EVERTHING agreed upon with the company in writing
· Speak with a qualified immigration lawyer or consultant to double check all of your decisions
While following these steps cannot fully guarantee a trouble free experience, it will definitely go a long way towards achieving that goal while giving you the peace of mind to know that you did all you could to make your immigration and move as smooth as possible.
Ari Strauch is the President and CEO of www.Shipping2Canada.com which works to promote people immigrating to Canada and to ensure that the shipping process is carried out as painlessly as possible.