May is ‘National Moving Month’ and it marks the start of the high season for moving. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 37 million Americans move per year. Unfortunately, not all of these moves go as planned, so BBB has advice to help make a move hassle-free.
Each year hundreds of complaints are filed with BBBs against moving companies. Typically complaints primarily allege issues with damaged or lost goods, damage to the consumer’s home during the move and/or final prices exceeding original estimates.
Anyone with a rented truck can claim to be a mover. Consumers should take steps to do your homework before you move to help avoid a moving mess during or after your move.
Checking out a mover is quick and easy at BBB.org. Last year, more than 1.7 million consumers nationwide checked with the BBB to find reputable moving companies that have good BBB ratings and read through Business Reviews of businesses they were considering hiring .
In addition your BBB offers the following advice for those who are moving:
- Get a written contract. Carefully read the terms and conditions of the contract, as well as the limits of liability and any disclaimers. Make sure pick-up and delivery dates or delivery ‘windows’ are spelled out. Understand how the rate is being calculated -- for example, time spent on the move versus volume of items being moved.
- Verify licensing. While state regulations vary, all interstate movers must, at minimum, be licensed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and are assigned a motor carrier number you can verify.
- Confirm insurance coverage – Ask the company for a copy of its Certificate of Insurance to verify that the mover is insured.
- Get at least three in-home estimates. No legitimate mover will offer to give you a firm estimate on-line or over the telephone. Also, keep in mind that the lowest estimate can be a ‘low-ball offer’ which can cost you more in the end.
- Know your rights. Research your rights as a consumer in the state you currently reside and in the state where you are moving.
- Call the police if your moving company holds your belongings hostage in order to make you pay more than the agreed upon contract price.
For more information, please visit the American Moving & Storage Association, the U.S. Department of Transportation, and your BBB.