May is National Moving Month!
If you’re planning a move in the near future, your first step should be researching prospective moving companies, says our insider at the Better Business Bureau (BBB).
Connecticut BBB spokesman Howard Schwartz says moving to a new home, apartment or condo is exciting, but stressful, especially when it comes to putting possessions and irreplaceable keepsakes in the hands of strangers. Unfortunately, when they go missing or are damaged beyond repair, the BBB and other consumer agencies—and occasionally police departments—hear about it.
Schwartz says an estimated 37 million Americans pull up stakes every year to move to another neighborhood, town, state or country. The BBB receives thousands of complaints a year about movers, moving brokers and moving supplies dealers.
In their complaints, consumers describe a variety of problems with unscrupulous movers:
• Missing or damaged belongings;
• Broken or scratched furniture or electronics;
• Damage to the new apartment or condo caused by the movers;
• A final bill well in excess of the estimate;
• Rude customer service;
• Difficulty obtaining compensation for damage, and;
• Having furniture “held hostage” on a truck unless the consumers pay additional fees.
Schwartz says movers provide free insurance coverage, but with limitations. With “Released Value” insurance, however, the mover assumes liability for no more than 60 cents per pound per article, regardless of the item’s value.
The second type of insurance, he says, is “Full Value Protection,” which offers substantially better coverage. Your mover would be liable for the replacement value of lost or damaged goods in your entire shipment.
While state regulations vary, Schwartz says all interstate movers must, at minimum, be licensed by the federal government and assigned a verifiable motor carrier number. Visit ProtectYourMove.gov, the U.S. Department of Transportation site, for tips, warnings, checklists and other resources.
If the moving company does fail to live up to its promises or threatens to hold your belongings hostage, Schwartz recommends filing a complaint with the BBB and contacting local law enforcement.
Published with permission from RISMedia.