May is National Moving Month, kicking off the busiest season for relocation. It’s the time of the year when a lot of American families begin thinking about who they will hire to help them move. It’s also a time when consumers need to exercise caution and choose their household goods carrier wisely.
According to the US Department of Transportation, more than 35 million Americans will move this year, and at BBB and the US Department of Transportation, our goal is to ensure that everyone who moves is treated fairly. After all, consumers should be able to expect honest and reasonable treatment when they move.
But all too often, we hear from people who were tricked by bad moving companies who disappeared with their goods or held their goods hostage for more money. That’s why the US DOT Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration ( FMCSA) has created a web site, www.protectyourmove.gov, to assist consumers in preparing to move. When families are taken advantage of, FMCSA can help prosecute bad companies, order them to return hostage goods to their owners, and–thanks to new powers under the latest transportation bill–even return part of a company’s fine to the victim.
I’ve handled a lot of moving complaints and I’ve heard firsthand how frustrating these issues can be. It pays to prepare for your move by being an informed consumer and to plan ahead. Check with BBB for information on movers prior to getting an estimate or signing a contract. The US Dept. of Transportation recently launched a red flag campaign to teach people how to Protect their Move by looking out for the most common signs of bad moving companies. Each of these is a red flag that a mover might not be trustworthy:
Does the mover refuse to make a house call for an estimate?
Does the mover offer a much lower estimate than other companies?
Does the mover pick up your possessions and then increase the price?
Does the mover ask or attempt to force you to sign a blank or incomplete document before they will deliver the shipment?
If you want more information about these red flags and other steps you can take to avoid moving fraud, please visit protectyourmove.gov. In addition to finding useful tips and checklists, you can also look up a mover’s registration and complaint history. And always remember to check the business out with BBB.
Remember, good decisions start with good information.
Moving is an exciting but stressful step. With the right preparation, there’s no reason your move shouldn’t be hassle-free. So if you’re planning a move, protect your memories and your money—visit protectyourmove.gov and www.bbb.org today.