St. Louis, Mo., June 19, 2012 – Moving is one of the most stressful events in anyone’s life. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) can help you avoid headaches, find a reliable mover and recognize red flags of scams that could turn your move into a nightmare.
More than 37 million Americans – about 13 percent of the population – switch homes every year, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Although many moves go smoothly, the BBB processes thousands of complaints about movers every year.
Common complaints include dishonest, careless or unlicensed movers. Consumers often are 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 van at its final destination.
One especially egregious case began when a consumer hired a moving company through a classified advertising website. The company quoted a price of $80 an hour, which seemed reasonable. But when the mover arrived at the new apartment, the price jumped to $800, about twice the quoted price. The mover, who was unlicensed, demanded cash and threatened to put the furniture in storage if the consumer didn’t pay.
“Checking a mover’s credentials is vital if you want a safe, trouble-free move,” said Michelle L. Corey, BBB president and CEO. “Consumers can check a mover’s complaint record in its BBB Business Review at bbb.org or by calling the BBB.”
An interstate household mover should be licensed with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (www.protectyourmove.gov).
Movers who operate within a single state are regulated by that state’s government. In Missouri, check with the Transportation Department. In Illinois, complaints can be filed with the attorney general’s office.
Some “red flags” to look out for when hiring a mover include:
Before you do business with a charity or company, check its BBB Business Review at www.bbb.org or by calling 314-645-3300.