In May, college students take their last final, and many leave their college town. May marks the beginning of the busiest seasons for moving. According to the U.S. Census bureau, about 1 in 9 people move during a given calendar year, which equals roughly 40 million Americans.
May is also a time when unscrupulous and unlicensed operators are most likely to take advantage of consumers. Be cautious when hiring a moving company or you could end up with a business that doesn’t deliver. Some moving companies falsely advertise they are “licensed and insured,” but customers who hire them risk losing literally everything they own. If a consumers hires an illegal moving company, they little or no recourse if their belongings are damaged, lost or stolen.
Moving can be among the most stressful events in anyone’s life. Better Business Bureau can help consumers find trusted movers, and can provide tips to reduce the chance of foreseeable problems.
Common complaints with moving companies include damaged or missing items, bills that were higher than estimates, late deliveries, and, in some cases, goods being held hostage for additional payments. Ask what type of protection the company offers against loss or damage (full replacement cost, depreciated value, or the basic 60¢ per pound valuation carriers are required to provide)?
“Finding a trustworthy mover is vital to having a stress-free move,” said Blair Looney, BBB President and CEO serving Central California & Inland Empire. “We encourage consumers to check movers out with BBB, contact their references, and understand your contract with the moving company. Then there should be few, if any, surprises.”
BBB’s website has BBB Business Reviews on companies that provide moving or related services. The reviews list any customer complaints registered against the companies, how they were resolved, and the mover’s website and contact information.
An interstate household mover should be licensed with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, a department of the U.S. Department of Transportation. For in-state moves, moving companies are regulated by the California Public Utilities Commission. Check to see if a company is active, or their license has been revoked.
Some “red flags” to watch for when hiring movers include:
BBB offers consumers the following tips on hiring a mover:
You can always file a complaint with the National Consumer Complaint Database Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration or your BBB.