Relocating your household is a potentially stressful chore.
No matter how excited you may be about the new opportunities, the new job, schools or neighborhood, the moving process can be a headache.
The Better Business Bureau has some tips and reminders for minimizing the hassle.
There are recurring scams that consumers fall victim to. Here are some of the main ones perpetuated by unscrupulous moving companies that you should watch
▪ Requested upfront payment. Companies that want you to pay a large deposit in advance should be avoided. A deposit in advance is not an unreasonable requirement, but it should not exceed 15 percent of the estimated amount of the move. There have been many cases reported where customers paid a large deposit and the mover never showed up.
▪ Holding your items hostage. Disreputable companies have been known to hold customers’ goods until additional money was paid to them. This is illegal and should be reported to law enforcement.
▪ Contracts with blank pages or large blank spaces. Such contracts should never be signed. Crooked moving companies could fill in those empty spaces with anything they want once you have signed the contract.
A smoother move
Proactive consumers can take steps to insure that their move goes more smoothly without unnecessary costs.
Do the following:
▪ Be sure to get at least three in-home, written estimates. Those super low emailed or phoned-in estimates, without the company representative actually seeing your goods, should be avoided. Don’t bother with verbal estimates that are not in writing.
▪ Check out the company thoroughly. Visit bbb.org to see its business reviews. It’s also important to plug in its name along with the words “complaint” or “review” to see whether unhappy customers are in its past.
▪ Rely on recommendations from friends or family who have used the specific company. Good experiences of this type are important indicators that you also will be satisfied.
▪ Get the company’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration license number and look it up at protectyourmove.gov to be sure they are licensed like it says it is.
▪ Get the scoop on the company’s insurance. Ask about its policy for repairing or replacing damaged goods. You may want to pay extra to get full value protection insurance.
There are red flags to watch for when dealing with moving companies. If they are reputable they will give you specific information regarding where they are physically located. This could be important later if you need to settle a dispute with them.
They won’t be vague when answering the phone. If they simply answer
with “movers” or “moving company,” watch out.
Be sure their truck is marked with the company logo as well – a rental truck is a bad sign.
Above all, get everything in writing. Read the contract even though it may be tedious and a bit time consuming. Never sign anything that you haven’t read or do not understand.
Remember that it’s a good policy to contact movers at least a month in advance of when you want to move. That can assure that you get on their schedule within the time slot you desire. Even more importantly, it will give you enough time to thoroughly check them out.