We like to keep things positive on this blog, with exciting news, helpful tips, and insight into the day-to-day of our company. Today our advice focuses on an unfortunate possibility when moving: being taken advantage of by a rogue mover. As bad as it is, it does sometimes happen, and we want to help you avoid this situation. These tips will help you spot the warning signs and protect yourself. You should get in-home estimates from three different moving companies, and if any of those you meet with exhibit these signs, we suggest you thank them for their time and immediately remove them from consideration.
They’re hesitant for you to visit their facility
While it’s obvious that clean, well-maintained facilities are of critical importance when putting your household goods into storage, they are also of concern if you’re moving. A mover’s home base is where the trucks, dollies, blankets, and packing materials are housed. Pests, mold, and moisture are all serious concerns when it comes to wrapping, packing, and transporting your belongings. A moving company that can deliver on the promise of good service will have no hesitation in welcoming you to visit their facility during business hours, with or without an appointment, and we recommend that you do just that.
They can’t put you in touch with credible references
Simply put, you want to be moved by experienced professionals with many happy customers. The best companies understand this, and will be eager to provide several previous customers to contact as references for the company. If they aren’t, that is reason for concern.
Their trucks and website don’t display their Motor Carrier Number
Household goods moving companies are authorized to operate by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (part of the U.S. Department of Transportation), and are issued an identification number that can be used to verify their good standing. Check the website of each company you consider hiring, and make sure their number is displayed. If you can, visit their facility and ask to see some of their trucks. Some rogue movers will use rental trucks, so if you aren’t shown trucks with the company’s logo that clearly display their Motor Carrier Number, be wary.
They aren’t adhering to trade standards
As with any mature industry, there are trade organizations for movers that promote best practices, provide education and training opportunities, and establish certification programs for member companies that adhere to professional standards. The American Moving & Storage Association (AMSA) certifies quality moving companies to be “ProMovers,” requiring them to adhere to high standards and pledge to uphold a code of ethics. Ask whether the company you’re considering is a certified ProMover, then check for yourself using their Motor Carrier Number.
They’re using inappropriate estimating methods
While estimates can vary in terms and conditions, there are some standards regarding the methods used to calculate the total cost. If you’re moving from one state to another, or a significant distance within the same state, the price should be based on the weight of the shipment. Local moves should be quoted based on time and materials. Be especially wary of any mover offering an estimate based on units of volume, such as cubic feet, as this is not a practice used by reputable companies.
The estimate doesn’t include an option for Full Value Protection
All moves involve some degree of risk, so the industry standard is to include an option with every quote for Full Value Protection, which makes the mover liable for the replacement value of lost or damaged goods. While lower cost protection options are available, you’ll be placed at financial risk if something goes wrong. Deciding on Full Value Protection or not is up to you, but it should always be offered. If it isn’t, we suggest you take that mover off your list.
They don’t provide you with “Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move”
When booking a move, a moving company is required by law to provide to you a resource published by the U.S. Department of Transportation entitled Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move. This can be given to you as a booklet or hyperlink, and it outlines what is required of a moving company in the course of a transaction, what you can do to protect yourself, and what your obligations are as a customer. If a mover you consider hiring fails to provide you with this resource, not only are they committing an unlawful act, but they are withholding useful information to help you in the process – clearly, they are not on your side.
Here’s hoping you never run into any of these
It is our sincere hope that you never have to disqualify a prospective mover on the basis of these warning signs. Every unscrupulous operator takes away from the reputation of the industry as a whole, and since our first concern at JK is the customer, we’d like to see malicious practices gone for good. There are many trustworthy movers, and our hope is that protections for customers continue to improve. By looking out for these warning signs, you’ll be better prepared to avoid a negative moving experience.