DAYTON, OHIO, May 22, 2012 – May is National Moving Month and the start of the busiest time of the year for changing residencies…which means unlicensed movers and dishonest scammers are waiting to take advantage of consumers who aren’t careful.
In 2011, your Better Business Bureau received more than 1.3 million moving related inquiries and more than 9,000 complaints against movers. Complaints include lost or stolen belongings, damaged items, huge price increases over quoted estimates, late deliveries and goods being “held hostage” for additional payment.
Your BBB has teamed up with American Moving & Storage Association (AMSA) to offer tips on how to select the right mover and avoid the scams.
“Finding a mover you can trust can be easy, if you take the time to do so,” said John North, BBB president and CEO. “Consumers need to make sure to always check with your BBB and AMSA before you find yourself paying thousands of extra dollars for damaged or lost items. Your BBB has more than 17,000 BBB Business Reviews on moving-related services.”
“A con artist with just a truck and a Web site can claim to be a legitimate mover with unfortunate results for consumers who don’t check out a company in advance,” said AMSA president and CEO Linda Bauer Darr. “When it comes to such an important decision, you can save yourself a lot of problems by finding a mover who puts customer service and integrity first. For interstate moves, that means an AMSA-certified ProMover.”
Your Better Business Bureau and AMSA offer the following checklist for finding a trustworthy moving company:
Research the company thoroughly. While state regulations vary, all interstate movers must, at minimum, be licensed by the federal government and are assigned a motor carrier number you can verify on FMCSA’s Web site, www.protectyourmove.gov.
Get at least three written in-home estimates. Not all price-quotes online or over the phone are legitimate. Keep in mind the lowest estimate can sometimes be an unrealistic low-ball offer, which can cost you more in the end.
Know your rights. Research your rights as a consumer with either FMCSA for interstate moves or the state in which you reside for moves within that state. Also, enlist the help of your BBB or local law enforcement if the moving company fails to live up to its promises or threatens to hold your belongings hostage. FMCSA requires interstate movers to offer arbitration to help settle disputed claims.
Consider accepting full value protection. It may cost a few dollars more up front, but it can provide some peace of mind and eliminate headaches after your move. Purchasing full (replacement) value protection means any lost or damaged articles will be repaired or replaced, or a cash settlement will be made to repair the item or to replace it at its current market value, regardless of age. It’s important to note the required minimum coverage of 60 cents per pound would not cover the replacement cost, for example, of a flat panel TV if damaged in transit. For your protection, a new interstate regulation effective May 15 requires the cost of full value protection to be included in the estimate you receive.
For more news you can trust and to check out a mover near you, visit www.bbb.org. or, call (937) 222-5825 or (800) 776-5301.
About Your BBB Serving Dayton and the Miami Valley
Your BBB, the leader in advancing marketplace trust, is an unbiased nonprofit organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. Businesses that earn BBB Accreditation contractually agree and adhere to the organization’s high standards of ethical business behavior. Your BBB provides objective advice, free business BBB Reliability ReportsTM and charity BBB Wise Giving ReportsTM, and educational information on topics affecting marketplace trust. To further promote trust, your BBB also offers complaint and dispute resolution support for consumers and businesses when there is difference in viewpoints. The first BBB was founded in 1912. Today, 125 BBBs serve communities across the U.S. and Canada, evaluating and monitoring more than four million local and national businesses and charities. Please visit www.bbb.org for more information about your BBB.