Avoid moving day horror stories - Plan your move carefully

June 05, 2008
Planning a move can be a big challenge. Every year the Better Business Bureau hears countless stories about late movers, lost and damaged goods, over-billing, and disputes over the actual weight of goods compared to the estimate.

Last year the BBB received 139 complaints about moving companies making the industry rated fourth overall in the number of complaints received.

“Start planning ahead several weeks before your targeted moving date,” says BBB President and CEO, Lynda Pasacreta. “Ask friends or neighbors to recommend companies they have been happy with for past moves and check out the companies' records with the BBB.”

Here are some quick tips to help you with your move:

1. Shop around. Get at least three estimates and keep in mind that the lowest bid may not necessarily be the best service when you consider insurance, training, experience, quality of vehicle, etc.

2. Get a written contract. Make sure you get a contract that spells out the specific terms: the dates and times of your move, holding charges, and over-weight penalties.

3. Ask about insurance. Find out how much insurance the mover has and what it covers. Ask for the insurer’s name and policy number in case you need extra insurance to protect your possessions.

4. Make a list and check it. Make an inventory of the goods to be moved. Personally supervise or have someone trusted with your inventory list watch the loading and unloading of the truck.

5. Report loss or damage. If damage or loss occurs, have the driver make a special note on the inventory and/or delivery receipt, then promptly notify the company in writing, keeping a copy for your own files.

6. If you pack you pay. Remember, if the moving company packs everything, they are responsible; if you pack things, you are on the hook for damages. If you pack, place heavy items on the bottom, lighter ones on top and label boxes.

7. Deal with insured companies. Ask for a clearance letter from the mover stating that they have insurance coverage from WorkSafeBC. If they don’t, you may end up paying for any employee injuries during the move.

Before hiring a moving company, go to www.bbb.org for a reliability report on the company. If your moving company is not responsive to a complaint you have brought to its attention, consider filing a complaint with the BBB.