BBB Warns of Costly Moves and Dishonest Carriers
May is National Moving Month, and if 2014 is anything like 2013, approximately 36 million people will relocate to new homes this year. As people pack up and move out this spring, Better Business Bureau offers advice on making the process as painless as possible.
“Consumers need to be ready before a big move,” says Tyler Andrew, CEO of BBB serving Alaska Oregon and Western Washington. “We hear too many stories of people being tricked and having their property held hostage until they pay more than what they were quoted. A little bit of planning offers a lot of protection.”
- Research first. Check BBB Business Reviews to see complaint histories and read customer reviews. Verify that required licenses are up-to-date with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration at protectyourmove.gov. Make sure to understand the difference between movers and brokers—middlemen who refer jobs to movers.
- Get estimates. Get at least three in-home estimates. Verbal or online quotes may not be legitimate or binding.
- Know your rights. For interstate moves—across state lines—companies must provide two booklets detailing customer rights. For intrastate moves, check with the: Department of Transportation and Pubilc Facilities in Alaska; Motor Carrier Transportation Division in Oregon; Utilities and Transportation Commission in Washington State.
- Consider buying full replacement value protection. Additional protection may add to the cost of moving, but will cover repairs or replacement costs—or market value cash settlements—if items are lost or damaged.
- Read the contract. Thoroughly study all paperwork to understand deadlines, liability obligations and costs.
BBB and the Oregon Department of Transportation offer additional reminders about moving:
- Most problems arise from disagreements about estimates or liabilities for damages.
- Estimates are educated guesses, but final prices vary depending on the actual services performed.
- Be wary of low estimates, which may end up costing more.
- The lowest insurance rates offer the least protection.
If companies threaten to hold belongings “hostage,” immediately call local law enforcement.
To check out local movers and find additional relocation tips, visit utc.wa.gov/movingtips and bbb.org.
ABOUT BBB: For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. BBB serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington, founded in 1918 and serving more than 9 million consumers, is one of 113 local, independent BBBs in the United States, Canada and Mexico. In 2014, people turned to BBB serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington more than 5 million times for BBB Business Reviews on more than 264,000 local businesses and for Charity Reports on more than 1,200 local charities, all available for free at akorww.bbb.org.