May is National Moving Month; Better Business Bureau® of Central Oklahoma offers tips for a safe, secure move
May is National Moving Month, which kicks off the busiest time of year for Americans changing residencies. Whether moving across town or across the country, nearly a third of consumers choose a professional moving company to assist with their relocation. Movers are one of the top categories of companies searched on the Better Business Bureau® website, bbb.org, which has Business Reviews on more than 20,000 moving-related companies.
With moving season in the air, it also means unlicensed movers and dishonest scammers are waiting to take advantage of unwary consumers. Better Business Bureau® of Central Oklahoma is providing important tips on how to avoid scams.
“Finding a mover you can trust is extremely important, but it doesn’t have to be a challenge. You want to hire a company that puts customer service and integrity first, and that’s what our BBB-accredited businesses do every day.” said Kitt Letcher, president and CEO of BBB. “Look up and evaluate your options with the BBB. We provide free profiles and reviews of local moving companies to help consumers make informed, educated decisions about where they spend their money.”
In 2016, BBB received more than 1.8 million moving-related inquiries from American consumers looking for movers and also received over 8,000 complaints against moving and storage companies in the United States. Many of those complaints alleged pricing issues, delivery issues, lost or damaged property and uncooperative employees.
BBB is offering the following tips for finding a trustworthy moving company:
- Do your research. Look up moving companies on bbb.org and on moving.org. Many movers that are BBB Accredited Businesses are also AMSA ProMovers; these companies have pledged to uphold high standards of trust and to resolve complaints quickly. Note the length of time a company has been in business and read reviews from previous customers.
- Get at least three estimates. Written, in-home estimates help you make an informed decision. Show the mover everything that needs to be moved (don’t forget sheds and garages). Be wary of unusually high or low estimates. If someone says they can give you an estimate over the phone or by email, it’s possible they’re trying to scam you.
- Get all agreements in writing. Read everything carefully and make sure you have it all in writing. Get copies of everything you sign, especially the most important document, the bill of lading, which is the receipt for your goods and the contract for their transportation. Never sign any blank forms.
- Know your rights. Interstate movers are required by law to provide you with certain information that explains the moving process, as well as your rights and responsibilities during and after the move. Ask for proof of licenses, insurance, etc.
- Protect your possessions. Make sure that your mover provides full-value protection insurance for any lost or damaged possessions. Note that insurance is by the pound, so expensive items such as a flat-panel television may need additional replacement cost coverage in case they are damaged in transit.
- Be wary of unusual requests. If a mover asks for a large down payment or full payment in advance, that may be a warning sign. And if a company says it won’t return your items to you without more money than you agreed to pay, contact BBB or local law enforcement for help.
- Take your valuables with you. Cash, coins, jewelry, photographs and important papers should be taken with you or shipped separately using a shipping service with tracking numbers and insurance.
- Ask questions. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about anything you don’t understand. If the moving company can’t or won’t answer your questions, you might want to look for another mover.
To check out a mover near you, and for more consumer information you can trust, visit oklahomacity.bbb.org and moving.org.