Lighten Your Load with BBB Tips on Hiring a Mover

April 12, 2017

movingSpringtime is prime time for many to make moves to new homes. If you are planning to take on this project and are looking to hire a moving company for assistance, Better Business Bureau of Central New England has tips to help you find a reliable moving company. While most moves go smoothly, it is important to shop wisely to find a trustworthy mover and avoid having this stressful, and costly, process from turning into a nightmare.

Many consumers complaints filed with BBB against moving companies were upset about lost or damaged goods, or final prices that exceeded estimates. Sometimes complaints can be avoided by taking the time to do some prep work, shopping around, and getting questions and concerns answered before signing contracts. “Consumers should check the moving company’s credentials before agreeing to services. Make sure they are properly licensed and review the fine print in the contract before signing,” said Nancy B. Cahalen, President and CEO of the Better Business Bureau of Central New England. “Shopping around and gathering information on the business can help avoid surprises down the line.”  

Consumers can check a mover’s BBB Business Review on our website. An interstate household mover should be licensed with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities oversees moving companies in based in Massachusetts.

Some “red flags” to look out for when hiring a mover include:

  • The mover doesn’t offer or agree to an on-site inspection of your household goods and gives an estimate over the phone or by email. The estimates often sound—and are—too good to be true.
  • The mover demands cash or a large deposit before the move.
  • The mover doesn’t provide you with a copy of “Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move,” a booklet movers are required to supply to customers planning interstate moves.
  • The company’s website has no address and no information about its registration or insurance.
  • The mover claims all items are covered by its insurance.
  • When you call, the telephone is answered with a generic “movers” or “moving company” rather than the company’s name.
  • Offices or warehouses are in poor condition or don’t exist.
  • On moving day, a rental truck arrives rather than a company-owned or marked fleet truck.

BBB advises consumers to check a company out carefully. Consider these tips when comparison shopping:

  • Get at least three written in-home estimates. No legitimate mover will give you a firm price online or over the phone. Remember that the lowest estimate may be an unrealistic low-ball offer that can cost you in the end.
  • Know your rights. Check your rights out at
  • Make sure the mover has insurance. The insurance should cover your goods while in transit. However, you may want to consider getting full value protection (insurance), which may add to the cost upfront but could save you headaches after the move. Be sure you understand what the insurance covers, whether items will be repaired, replaced or if you will be offered a cash settlement that you can use to repair or replace the item on your own.
  • Check the mover’s complaint history. BBB Business Reviews include a company’s complaint history with BBB and are available at on our website. Check out local accredited movers here.

For more moving tips from BB: