BBB: Tips to make sure your move goes smoothly

Photo illustration
Photo illustration Courtesy photo

May marks the beginning of moving season.

For a variety of reasons, more people choose the late spring and summer as their time to relocate – the kids are out of school, real estate sales increase, the weather is more cooperative and people are more likely to change jobs this time of year.

It all adds up to more piles of boxes, more yard sales and more moving vans in driveways.

The subject of moving is top of mind for the Better Business Bureau as well because the Wichita office has just undergone a move into a new location at 125 S. Washington, Suite 100.

Each year the BBB gets thousands of complaints related to moving companies. If you are in the process, or are about to begin the process, of selecting a mover, take a moment to look over this advice from the BBB:

What to watch out for

There are some clues that consumers should be on the lookout for when selecting a moving company. Among them are:

▪ Movers that do not make an on-sight inspection of your household goods, simply giving you an estimate over the phone or through email. Does that low estimate sound too good to be true? It usually is.

▪ Movers demanding cash or large deposits upfront.

▪ Movers who do not provide you a copy of “Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move,” a booklet that any company doing an interstate move is required by law to give you.

▪ Companies whose website provides no information about licensing and insurance.

▪ Vague or nonexistent information about where the company is physically located.

▪ When you call them on the phone they answer with “movers,” or “moving company” instead of a specific company name.

▪ You are denied a full-value protection plan for your expensive items.

▪ The truck that comes to move you is a rental and is not marked with the moving company’s logo.

▪ You are asked to sign a bill of lading on moving day that has blank pages. Never sign blank pages.

Making a smart move

Moving is traumatic enough without having unexpected complications clouding your moving day. Use these tips to assure that your move goes well:

▪ Get at least three written, in-home estimates.

▪ Visit protectyourmove.gov to learn about your rights when dealing with moving companies.

▪ Question their insurance. Consider paying extra for full-value protection insurance. Ask whether damaged goods will be repaired, replaced, or you will be given a cash settlement.

▪ Check the company’s complaint history by doing online searches and by reading BBB business reviews.

▪ Get everything in writing and with no blank pages. Ask them whether their quote is binding and if so, see that they give you a written statement saying the same.

▪ Get the mover’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration license number. At protectyourmove.gov you can check their number to be sure they really are licensed.

▪ In the event that there is a later dispute, find out what the company’s address is. Know that they will need to be accessible to you if that unfortunate circumstance comes up.

There have been reported instances where unscrupulous moving companies have held a customer’s goods hostage for additional money. Report such activity to law enforcement and do not give in to such demands.

Denise Groene is the state director of the Better Business Bureau of Kansas. Contact the bureau at 800-856-2417 or bbbinc.org.