Denver, CO – May 8, 2012 – May is National Moving Month and the start of the busiest time of year for changing residencies, which means unlicensed movers and dishonest scammers are waiting to take advantage consumers who aren’t careful.
In 2011, BBBs nationwide received more than 1.3 million moving-related inquiries and more than 9,000 complaints against movers. Locally, the BBB Serving Denver/ Boulder received over 200 complaints against movers in 2011. Complaints include lost or stolen belongings, damaged items, huge price increases over quoted estimates, late deliveries, and goods being “held hostage” for additional payment.
The BBB has teamed up with the American Moving & Storage Association (AMSA) to offer tips on how to select the right mover and how to avoid the scams.
"Finding a mover you can trust can be easy, if you take the time to do so,” said Dale Mingilton, president and CEO of the BBB Serving Denver/Boulder. "Consumers should always check with the BBB and the AMSA before you find yourself paying thousands of extra dollars for damaged or lost items. The BBB has more than 17,000 BBB Business Reviews on moving-related services.”
"A con artist with just a truck and a website can claim to be a legitimate mover with unfortunate results for consumers who don’t check out a company in advance,” said AMSA President and CEO, Linda Bauer Darr. "When it comes to such an important decision, you can save yourself a lot of problems by finding a mover who puts customer service and integrity first. For interstate moves, that means an AMSA-certified ProMover."
The BBB and AMSA offer the following checklist for finding a trustworthy moving company:
Research the company thoroughly. While state regulations vary, all interstate movers must, at minimum, be licensed by the federal government and are assigned a motor carrier number you can verify on FMCSA’s website, www.protectyourmove.gov.
Get at least three written in-home estimates. Not all price-quotes online or over the phone are legitimate. Keep in mind that the lowest estimate can sometimes be an unrealistic low-ball offer, which can cost you more in the end.
Know your rights. Research your rights as a consumer with either the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) for interstate moves or the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC) for local moves. Also, enlist the help of the BBB or local law enforcement if the moving company fails to live up to its promises or threatens to hold your belongings hostage. The FMCSA requires interstate movers to offer arbitration to help settle disputed claims.
Consider accepting full value protection. It may cost a few dollars more up front, but it can provide some peace of mind and eliminate headaches after your move. Purchasing full (replacement) value protection means any lost or damaged articles will be repaired or replaced, or a cash settlement will be made to repair the item or to replace it at its current market value, regardless of age. It’s important to note that the required minimum coverage of 60 cents per pound would not cover the replacement cost, for example, of a flat panel TV if damaged in transit. For your protection, a new interstate regulation effective May 15 requires the cost of full value protection to be included in the estimate you receive.
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About the BBB
The BBB is an unbiased nonprofit organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. Businesses that earn BBB Accreditation contractually agree and adhere to the organization’s high standards of ethical business behavior. The BBB provides objective advice, BBB Business Reviews , BBB Charity Reports and educational information on topics affecting marketplace trust. To further promote trust, your BBB also offers dispute resolution services for consumers and businesses. The first BBB was founded in 1912. Today, over 100 BBBs serve communities across the U.S. and Canada. Please visit www.denver.bbb.org for more information.