BBB Tips for National Moving Month
May is National Moving Month, which kicks off the busiest time of year for Americans changing
residencies. It also means unlicensed movers and dishonest scammers are waiting to take
advantage of unwary consumers. Better Business Bureau (BBB) is again joining with the American
Moving & Storage Association (AMSA) to provide important tips on how to avoid scams and have a
safe, secure move.
In 2013, BBB received more than 1.7 million moving-related inquiries from American consumers
looking for movers, and also received more than 9,300 complaints against movers in the U.S.
Complaints that included damaged or missing items, big price increases over originally-quoted
estimates, late deliveries, and goods being held “hostage” for additional, often disputed, payments.
“Anyone can claim to be a mover, so checking a mover's credentials is not only critical, it is also very
simple”, said Mechele Agbayani Mills, President and CEO of BBB Serving Central East Texas.
“Taking precautions on the front end can save you from a nightmare down the road.”
Consumers can check bbb.org for free BBB Business Reviews on more than 17,000 companies that
provide moving-related services, or for interstate moves, turn to moving.org to find an
BBB and AMSA are offering the following tips 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 Motor Carrier Safety Administration. FMCSA assigns a unique
motor carrier number that can be verified at protectyourmove.gov. Make sure you know whether you
are dealing directly with a mover, or with a broker (middleman) who will refer your job to a mover you
Get at least three written in-home estimates. Not all price quotes online or over the phone are
legitimate (or binding), and crooks are not likely to send an estimator to your home in advance
. Remember that the lowest estimate can sometimes be an unrealistic, low-ball offer, which may cost
you more in the end.
Know your rights. Research your rights with either the FMCSA for interstate moves, or with the
appropriate state agency for moves just within that state. Interstate movers must give you two
booklets detailing your rights, which are also available online. If a company threatens to hold your
belongings “hostage,” enlist the help of BBB or local law enforcement.
Consider accepting full value protection. It may cost more, but it can provide some peace of mind
and eliminate headaches after your move. Purchasing full (replacement) value protection from your
mover 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, for example, that the required minimum coverage of 60 cents per pound would not cover the
replacement cost of a flat panel TV if damaged in transit. The cost of full value protection must be
included in the initial estimate you receive for an interstate move. FMCSA also requires interstate
movers to offer arbitration to help settle disputed claims.
To check out a mover near you, and for more consumer information you can trust,
the BBB Hotline: (903)581-8373.