If moving to a new home is on your agenda for this summer, Better Business Bureau has tips that will help you find a reliable mover and avoid scams that can turn your move into a nightmare.
Although many moves go smoothly, BBB still receives dozens of complaints yearly about movers. Common complaints concerned dishonest, careless or unlicensed movers. Consumers were upset about lost or damaged goods or final prices that exceeded estimates. In a few cases, movers held customers’ belongings hostage, asking for thousands of dollars before they would unload the truck at its final destination.
However, there are many reputable moving companies, and checking a mover’s credentials is critical to achieving a safe, trouble-free move. Consumers can check a mover’s BBB Business Review on our website. An interstate household mover should be licensed with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities oversees moving companies in based in Massachusetts.
Some “red flags” to look out for when hiring a mover include:
- The mover doesn’t offer or agree to an on-site inspection of your household goods and gives an estimate over the phone or by email. The estimates often sound—and are—too good to be true.
- The mover demands cash or a large deposit before the move.
- The mover doesn’t provide you with a copy of “Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move,” a booklet movers are required to supply to customers planning interstate moves.
- The company’s website has no address and no information about its registration or insurance.
- The mover claims all items are covered by its insurance.
- When you call, the telephone is answered with a generic “movers” or “moving company” rather than the company’s name.
- Offices or warehouses are in poor condition or don’t exist.
- On moving day, a rental truck arrives rather than a company-owned or marked fleet truck.
The BBB advises consumers to check a company out carefully. More tips:
- Get at least three written in-home estimates. No legitimate mover will give you a firm price online or over the phone. Remember that the lowest estimate may be an unrealistic low-ball offer that can cost you in the end.
- Know your rights. Check your rights out at www.protectyourmove.gov.
- Make sure the mover has insurance. The insurance should cover your goods while in transit. However, you may want to consider getting full value protection (insurance), which may add to the cost upfront but could save you headaches after the move. Be sure you understand what the insurance covers, whether items will be repaired, replaced or if you will be offered a cash settlement that you can use to repair or replace the item on your own.
- Check the mover’s complaint history. BBB Business Reviews include a company’s complaint history with BBB and are available at on our website.