Listed below are the five most important things you can do to protect yourself from the growing threat of becoming victim to a moving company scam. The moving industry was deregulated in the early 90’s and has been a shambles ever since. Scam movers have taken over the industry and the honest movers can
hardly compete. Still over 15% of Americans move each year for a total of over 40 million people. That’s a lot of moving and packing for these bad movers to rip people off. By following a few simple steps you can have the advantage over your movers and protect yourself, your family and everything you own.
1. The most important thing you can do to protect yourself when hiring a moving company is to hire only licensed movers as regulated by the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration (FMCSA). By dealing with licensed moving companies you are entitled to certain Rights and responsibilities When Moving as outlined in this Federal Brochure (http://www.protectyourmove.gov/consumer/awareness/rights/rights.htm). You should be given a copy of this document by your moving company before you. Be certain you are dealing with an actual moving company and not moving brokers. Moving brokers are licensed and regulated by the FMCSA but are not required to have trucks. Most brokers are nothing more than a sales force booking deals for companies with trucks. As soon as they have your money they are no longer interested in you or your stuff. You can read more about the horrors of the moving broker scam at www.movingscam.com.
2. The best place to find a moving company is through your local resources like the newspaper, yellow pages or by word of mouth. Ask local friends what movers they have used. Once you find a moving company you should ask for referrals. Don’t trust the junk you read on someone’s website. Ask for a phone number to the last 3 clients. If they won’t produce a phone number than ask that they call you instead. If they are unwilling to do so then you can expect their service wasn’t so spectacular. Make certain you get a written binding estimate based on 400n tariff weight and not cubic footage. Paying for the actual weight of your household goods can save you money. Why let a crooked moving company pack your stuff in boxes when they are charging you by the cubic foot? They love the full service pack and move jobs because they charge more. Be armed with knowledge like that available to you at http://www.protectyourmove.gov and know your rights.
3. The safest way to move your stuff is to move yourself. Self service moving has become quite the rage in recent years and companies that offer various self move services are fast becoming industry leaders. Moving trucks and drivers are as popular as ever with over 1 million moving trucks rented per year. Moving containers are a new service which provides a storage container delivered to your home. You are allowed to pack at your own pace while the box stays near your home safe and secured. Once you are finished packing your moving pod can be delivered to your new home in the same city or another state. If you’re not interested in loading or driving a truck maybe you would prefer to hire a truck and driver with you pack and load they drive moving services. Packing supplies and services add quite a bit to your move cost. Save money by packing your own stuff and ensure it was safe before you packed it. Beware, scam movers like to blame you for damages to items already packed.
4. Loading and unloading are the most dangerous times for you and your things. Packing your own things is the safest way but if you use a moving service to pack your things is sure they use quality packing materials and supplies. Some moving companies have special rolls of tape that are shorter and cheaper than regular rolls. They use cheap moving boxes which may not support your stuff and they may under pack boxes in an attempt to use more boxes and space on the truck. Moving blankets, hand trucks and wheel dollys are all tools of the trade for a professional mover but foreign objects to scam movers. Don’t let them bust up your furniture and have them pack and load your things properly. Most movers will not be qualified to do things like setup your electrical equipment or some appliances. Take care of these things yourself in order to make certain your home is safe from any potential harm.
5. After your mover has unpacked and delivered your goods you should check for any obvious damages immediately. By law you have 90 days to file a claim with your mover but it’s always best to do so right away. Offer photo of video evidence of the contents of your home before and after the move as evidence of any damages or items missing. Missing or stolen items should be reported to the police right away. No matter what the movers say you have the right to complain about your items not arriving as they were supposed to. File any complaints with your movers right away and follow through, if they resist then take it up with the FMCSA. Obviously this is not a complete list of things you should do before you hire a moving company. Good sense and judgment should be used whenever you hire any company to perform a service for you. When they are packing up everything you own and stuffing it in a truck for a cross country trek you take extra precautions. Please review the list of resources below for more information on moving and relocation services.