Spring is here and with that comes the busiest time of year for Canadians changing residencies. It also means unlicensed movers and dishonest scammers are waiting to take advantage of unwary consumers. Better Business Bureau is urging consumers to be smart and safe when moving this moving season.
In 2013, BBB received more than 232,000 moving-related inquiries from Canadian consumers looking for movers, and also received more than 700 complaints against movers in Canada. Complaints included damaged or missing items, big price increases over originally-quoted estimates, late deliveries, and goods being held “hostage” for additional, often disputed, payments.
Consumers can check bbb.org for free BBB Business Reviews on more than 17,000 companies that provide moving-related services, or for long distance moves turn to the Canadian Association of Movers to find a certified CAM member.
BBB recommends the following tips for finding a trustworthy moving company:
Research the company thoroughly. Does the company know about and agree to abide by the terms of the Good Practice Guidelines for Canadian Movers? Always check the company out with BBB and the Canadian Association of Movers first. Also make sure you know whether you are dealing directly with a mover, or with a broker (middleman) who will refer your job to a mover you don’t know.
Get at least three written in-home estimates. Not all price quotes online or over the phone are legitimate (or binding), and crooks are not likely to send an estimator to your home in advance. Also, remember that the lowest estimate can sometimes be an unrealistic, low-ball offer, which may cost you more in the end.
Know your rights. Research your rights with either the Canadian Association of Movers or with the Office of Consumer Affairs (OCA). Movers should provide customers with a pamphlet that outlines customer and mover rights and responsibilities, mover liability for loss or damage, optional programs available, limitations on liability and additional costs associated with each level of liability. If a company threatens to hold your belongings “hostage,” enlist the help of BBB or local law enforcement.
Consider accepting Replacement Value Protection. It may cost a few dollars more, but it can provide some peace of mind and eliminate headaches after your move. Purchasing Replacement Value Protection from your mover means that the moving company agrees to be legally liable up to an amount that represents your estimate of the value of your property being moved. Often that amount is arrived at by multiplying each pound of weight of your shipment by $10.00. If you don't buy Replacement Value Protection, the moving company is usually liable only up to 60 cents per pound of any article that may be destroyed or lost. For a typical television set, that's about $30.