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Educational Consumer Tips


Author: Better Business Bureau

This report is general in nature and is not intended as a reliability report on any company, service or product.

When choosing a mover, obtain an in-home, visual estimate from several moving companies. Contact them for additional information, and compare their services. Inform them of your destination and the timing of your move. Ask for a written estimate and know whether it is binding or non-binding. 

A non-binding estimate is not a guaranteed price, and the final cost will not be known until the goods are weighed and the charges for transportation and services are calculated. With a binding estimate, the price cannot change unless you add to the shipment, or add additional services. Reach a clear understanding about the amount of packing and other services needed. 

Carefully compare each estimate to see which company best suits your needs and budget. Some consumers mistakenly assume that the moving company is insured to cover the full value of their goods at no extra charge. This is not the case. Movers generally provide three types of protection for your goods in case they are lost or damaged:
·          Limited liability
·          Added valuation
·          Full value

Limited liability is the basic coverage by law, and it does not cost the consumer anything. Under limited liability, the mover is responsible for sixty cents per pound per item for an interstate move, and thirty cents per pound for a move within your state. So if the mover drops a ten pound television set, the company may owe you as little as six dollars, despite the TV's actual worth. Full value is as it states, coverage for full value of possessions and will require additional payment.

Be physically present when the mover both loads and unloads your belongings. Make sure that everything arrives in good condition. Report any damage promptly on the bill of lading or the driver's inventory sheet. Document any damages or lost articles before signing to accept the delivery. 

To verify if a moving company is licensed to operate within the state of Pennsylvania, call Public Utility Commission at 717-783-5010.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's consumer site provides details on hiring a mover.

If you have a dispute with a moving company that cannot be resolved, file with the BBB or contact the US Dept. of State, Federal Motor Carrier Administration at or 888-368-7238 if it is a move across state lines.

For more advice you can trust from your local BBB on avoiding scams and fraud, go to

Updated 2/16