Marlborough, MA - Even in the best circumstances, moving can be an extremely stressful event. Better Business Bureau Serving Eastern MA, ME, RI & VT (BBB) is helping consumers reduce stress by providing tips to choose a trustworthy moving business.
Last year, BBB saw more than1 million inquiries from consumers looking to hire a mover and received 6,326 complaints from customers. Common complaints included damaged or missing items, bills that were higher than estimated, late deliveries and in some cases, goods being held hostage for additional payments.
“Moving can be hassle-free if you take the time to research businesses and get everything in writing,” said Paula Fleming, spokesperson for the local BBB. “Don’t simply hire the cheapest mover you find. Doing a bit a research can protect belongings and wallets.”
Before you even pack a box, BBB offers the following tips for hiring a moving company:
Check with the reviews and ratings. First and foremost, make sure the moving company is licensed and insured. Different states have different requirements, but check with an official agency to make sure the moving company is legitimate. Once that checks out, be sure to verify the moving company’s rating with the Better Business Bureau.
Businesses that are BBB Accredited agree to follow higher standards, laid out in the BBB Code of Business Practices. They are also required to address any complaints if problems arise, and make a good faith effort to resolve them.
Determine the details. Are you going to pack yourself, or do you want the moving company to pack for you? If you’re going to pack yourself, be sure to factor in the time and cost associated with packing and packing supplies. Are you moving across the street or across the country? While local moving companies might be the best option for smaller moves, you will want to hire a national moving company for interstate moves.
Request an in-home estimate. Be sure to receive a free written estimate - moving companies are required to provide one. Get estimates from at least three different companies and do not make a decision based on price alone. Be sure to be very specific about everything you want moved. For example, don’t forget to include the BBQ grill in the backyard or the storage items in the basement. The estimate should be in writing and it should include details of all of the charges. Make sure you get a copy of the written estimate and don’t sign anything if you are uncertain about it or if the document is incomplete.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Sometimes the simple questions are the most informative: how long have you been in business? Are you licensed and insured? Are you active in the community? And so on. In addition to the simple questions, a lot of moving contracts contain complicated legal language. Make sure to ask questions about the insured value of your belongings and any fees/surcharges not included in the estimate.
ABOUT BBB: For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses and brands they can trust. In 2016, people turned to BBB more than 172 million times for BBB Business Reviews on more than 5.3 million businesses, all available for free at bbb.org.