A Moving Company Can be a Convenience or Not – Depending on Whom You Hire
Moving home is stressful, expensive and frequently compared to root canals. In the middle of all the pain and confusion of moving, there’s one thing that you particularly need to pay attention to – making sure that your mover doesn’t rip you off. Moving companies are one of the most active areas at the Better Business Bureau – they process thousands of complaints each year to do with overcharging, theft, damage to property and missing items.
Before trusting your valuables to strangers, then, you need to do your best to screen for the best moving company possible.
Your first step – screen every mover for quality and trustworthiness
Every moving company that does interstate moves is required to be listed with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Before you sign up with a mover, you should use the Administration’s search engine at ai.fmcsa.dot.gov/hhg/Search.asp to check for any user complaints.
Lastly, you should look up the names of the moving companies that you are considering on the website of the Better Business Bureau. If they have any open complaints on file, you’ll know to stay away from them.
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Ask each moving company for a written estimate
Professional moving companies always insist on in-home inspections prior to giving out estimates. They come in, do a quick inventory of your possessions to make sure they know how much work is involved and only offer you a quote afterwards. Untrustworthy moving companies, on the other hand, often try to lock customers in by offering quotes over the phone even before they have any information on what a move may involve. You need to stay away from such operators.
Whatever services you need, you must make sure that each estimate includes it all. Sometimes, moving companies offer attractive, low quotes by quietly charging separately for essential services. They then hit you up with extra fees later on for those services. When you compare quotes from different movers, you need to make sure that you are comparing apples to apples.
Pay close attention to the insurance provided
If a moving company misplaces the possessions of a client in the moving process or breaks something, they are liable for it by law. To make sure that moving companies are always in a position to offer compensation, the law requires that they use special, moving company insurance. It works similarly to the third-party insurance that automobile owners are required to buy. In the event of an accident, the insurance at least makes sure that any victims are compensated.
Shady moving companies often disregard the law and accept business even when they hold no insurance. To guard against such operators, you need to ask for proof that the mover has insurance and look at what the insurance excludes.
Moving companies usually offer clients different levels of coverage. If you pay nothing extra for insurance cover, you only get baseline protection – 60 cents for every pound of possession lost or damaged. If you want full value compensation, you need to pay extra for it. When you get such insurance, the mover is obligated to repair, replace or otherwise compensate you for anything that’s damaged or lost.
If a mover’s full value insurance is expensive, you can consider buying it from the company that holds your current homeowners insurance policy.
Keep an eye out for these moves
- Ask the moving company if they plan to do the entire move themselves or farm out the work to another company. While reputable moving companies do sometimes work with other movers, such arrangements involve having your possessions moved from one truck to another at some point. It brings in added risk.
- Ask if the mover has its own crew members on the company payroll or if they simply get temporary hires for each move. Ask to see their workers’ background verification forms.
- You’re better protected when you pay your deposit by cashier’s check or credit card. Movers who only accept cash payments are not a good idea.
- If the mover has no local address, no customer service number or website, they are probably not professionals and are best stayed away from.
- If the moving company brings an unmarked truck rather than a proper fleet truck with the company’s name on it, or sends movers who look unprofessional, you must refuse to go ahead with the move.
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