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How to safely hire a moving company

Pending Home Sales
Posted at 8:00 AM, May 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-17 10:00:22-04

IDAHO — May is National Moving Month, but if you're planning a move, there are some tips to know before hiring a moving company.

Rebecca Barr from the Better Business Bureau says the BBB received more than 1,400 complaints against moving companies over the last three years. The top three issues were fly-by-night movers, belongings being held hostage, and dishonest contractors.

Barr says fly-by-night movers show up in an unmarked rental truck and not the clearly marked company-owned fleet trucks you're used to seeing. They pack up and take off with your possessions. Most professional movers wear uniforms, undergo background checks, and provide an order number for tracking purposes.

Consumers should also be aware of movers who hold belongings hostage. Barr says they've received reports of moves that seemed smooth at first until the truck arrived at the new home and movers demanded more money before releasing belongings from storage.

Another issue popping up includes moving contractors opting not to provide customers with written contracts. That can leave customers on the hook for costs and damages incurred during the move.

There are red flags to be aware of as you plan your move. One includes movers who demand cash or a large deposit before the move. Many contractors will ask for a small fee upfront, but safe ones don't require the majority of the payment to be made ahead of time and never in cash.

Company websites that do not have an address or any information about a mover's registration or insurance are also a red flag. Barr says if you don't see basic contact info, stay away.

Finally, movers who claim all items are covered by their insurance are typically high-risk. As great as that sounds, it’s likely unrealistic and serves as a false sense of security.

As you prepare for a move, start by verifying a mover's claims, credentials, and professional memberships. Barr says the fly-by-night operators can’t fake a good reputation. Ask for proof of licenses, insurance, and all other important information.

Next, get everything in writing. Try to get three written estimates from different movers based on visits to your home. Though most professional movers do give quotes over the phone, it’s still a good idea to get written documentation of all the services you are receiving.

Lastly, make sure that your mover provides full-value protection insurance for any lost or damaged possessions. Most moving insurance is by the pound, so expensive items may need additional replacement cost coverage in case they are damaged. Find out what your household insurance will and won't cover during a move.

For other tips on how to keep your money, information, and more safe, click here.