This post was written by Chuck Kuhn, President and CEO, JK Moving Services.
I recently wrote about rogue movers in response to the case of Carlyn Lucas, who had her items held for ransom after a moving company charged her more than triple what they originally quoted. Cases like this are far too common, so customers need to be sure to properly vet their potential moving companies before committing to any. Below, I offer advice to help you ensure that your moving company is reputable.
Know your payment options
Before you make any commitments, ask the sales representative how much you will be paying (including any factors that are subject to change), as well as when you will be paying. Also, ask what forms of payment they accept (some do not accept checks). You can ask this information during your in-home estimate.
For long distance moves, confirm that your estimate is based on weight. Legally, interstate moves must be based on weight and the moving company’s tariff. Do not accept an estimate based on cubic feet, as those are typically meant for residential and commercial moves.
Know the people
Get names, phone numbers, and emails for all of your points-of-contact. Discuss their roles with them and understand who you should contact for any potential issues.
Get a good idea of who the company hires. Ask the company if their employees are background-checked and drug-tested. You should also inquire about the training employees undergo before they enter your home. For instance, all JK employees are drug-tested, background-checked, and trained in our own training house, all before ever stepping foot in a customer’s home.
Validate your mover
What type of credentials has your potential mover earned? Are they a certified AMSA ProMover? What kind of recognition or accolades have they received from industry trade organizations? For example, JK recently received an AMSA Fleet Safety award and CREBA’s Best of the Industry award.
Be aware of misleading names. Some rogue movers use names nearly identical to professional movers, hoping to fool people who do not realize they are not the same company. For example, a company that wanted to impersonate JK Moving Services might call themselves “J&K Movers.” A good way to confirm that the company is who you think they are is by checking their DOT number. The U.S. Department of Transportation assigns a number to interstate moving companies, and has a tool you can use to confirm the company by its DOT number. (JK Moving Services’ DOT number is 1065394)
Tour the facility
A great way of scouting out a moving company is to tour its facility. You can see how many trucks they have, how clean their warehouse is, and get a general sense of how organized and efficient the company is. This will also ensure you do not end up with a case like Ms. Lucas – recall that her mover’s listed address was a P.O. Box inside a UPS store.
Carlyn Lucas was just one of many victims. The Maryland Attorney General claims 10,000 people contact him about consumer fraud cases every year. While these cases are unjust and the rogue movers need to be held accountable, many of these cases can be prevented by researching moving companies before booking with them.
Know how and how much you will pay ahead of time.
Get to know the employees and who you will be in contact with.
Validate your mover through industry recognition and certifications.
Tour the mover’s facilities.