There are an estimated 40 million people in the United States who move every single year and require the services a quality moving company. That opens the door for opportunities and scams from unreliable and shady moving companies. Fortunately, the majority of these companies are legitimate and by just doing your homework, your move can be accomplished successfully and without incident.
There are several talking points you need to discuss with your potential movers. By all means, obtain estimates from several companies. Ask for recommendations from friends and families. Realtors are a great source for recommendations as their clients deal with movers on a regular basis. Here are several red flags you should be aware of when selecting a mover:
- Movers who give you a phone estimate and do not physically come to your home to inspect your things. Estimates are based on mileage but also on weight. If the moving agent does not come to your home, move on.
- The moving agent who does come to your home but doesn’t take the time to look in closets or kitchen cabinets or your pantry will not be able to give you an accurate moving estimate. The agent should ask you if there are items you will not be moving, such as food in the pantry, any furniture you plan to sell prior to the move, any items in your garage or basement that will not be coming to your new home.
- Be sure to be forthcoming to the moving agent about what you want moved. If you plan on buying a new bed or furniture, let the agent know because that will affect the weight and amount of room necessary in the truck. A moving agent who has given you an unrealistic low estimate may demand move money upon delivery of your items because of the added weight and volume. A good agent will ask these questions but it is also to your advantage to offer up any information about purchases made prior to moving.
- Do not pay your mover up front. Reputable movers will ask for payment upon delivery of your goods. Never pay in cash as you have no recourse or control if something goes wrong and you do not receive your belongings in the condition in which they started the move.
- Be sure you are aware of any ‘added fees’ movers can add to your bill. If you have a two-story home, or are moving to a two-story home, ask if there is an additional charge. If the moving van is unable to access your street, expect an extra charge for the additional smaller trucks needed to shuttle items to the bigger van.
- It is required that the mover provide you with a booklet entitled “Your Rights and Responsibilities When you Move” at the time you select the company. If this is not offered to you upfront, select another mover.
If you have issues with your moving company, you should immediately contact an attorney to see what rights you have. The law does make moving companies difficult to sue, however they are still liable for the value of all your possessions. Many moving companies may try to inflate their estimates to get money from vulnerable consumers, but most companies do not want to go to court. Having an attorney on your side will improve your odds that your items will be delivered as scheduled and unharmed.