Better Business Bureau (BBB) can help consumers reduce hassles from one of the most stressful events of life – moving - by helping them find trusted movers and by providing tips to reduce the chance of errors or foreseeable problems.
Last year, BBBs nationwide fielded more than 1.4 million requests for BBB Business Profiles from consumers looking for movers; more than 6,152 complaints about American movers were registered with BBB. More than 13, 268 local consumer inquiries about movers in Eastern Missouri and Southern Illinois were received. 210 complaints were registered.
Common complaints included damaged or missing items, bills that were higher than estimates, late deliveries and in some cases, goods held hostage for additional payments.
“Finding a trustworthy mover is the first step toward a stress-free move,” said Michelle L. Corey, BBB president and CEO. “We encourage consumers to check movers out with BBB, contact their references and understand contracts with the moving company. Then there should be few, if any, surprises.”
BBB’s website has BBB Business Profiles on more than 20,000 companies that provide moving or related services. The reviews list any customer complaints registered against the companies and how they were resolved, as well as helpful information, such as the mover’s BBB rating from A+ to F, its website and contact information.
An interstate household mover should be licensed with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (www.protectyourmove.gov). Movers who operate within a single state are regulated by that state’s government. In Missouri, check with the Missouri Department of Transportation. In Illinois, check with the Illinois Department of Transportation.
Some “red flags” to watch for when hiring movers include:
- Movers who don’t make an on-site inspection of your household goods and give an estimate over the phone or by email. Such estimates often sound—and are—too good to be true.
- Movers who demand cash or a large deposit before the move.
- Movers who don’t provide you with a copy of “Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move,” a booklet that movers are required to supply to customers planning interstate moves.
- Company websites that have no address and no information about a mover’s registration or insurance.
- Movers who claim all items are covered by their insurance.
- Telephone calls answered with a generic “movers” or “moving company” rather than a company name.
- Offices or warehouses that are in poor condition or don’t exist.
- On moving day, a rental truck arrives rather than a company-owned or marked fleet truck.
BBB offers consumers the following tips on hiring a mover:
- Get at least three written in-home estimates. No legitimate mover will give you a firm price online or over the phone. Remember that the lowest estimate may be an unrealistic low-ball offer that can cost you in the end.
- Know your rights. Learn about your rights at www.protectyourmove.gov or from your state attorney general’s office.
- Make sure the mover has insurance. The insurance should cover your goods while in transit. However, you may want to consider getting full value protection (insurance), which may add to the cost upfront but could save you headaches after the move. Be sure you understand what the insurance covers, whether items will be repaired, replaced or if you will be offered a cash settlement that you can use to repair or replace the item on your own.
- Check the mover’s complaint history. BBB Business Profiles include a company’s complaint history with BBB. Find them at www.bbb.org or by calling 314-645-3300.
- Use BBB’s Request A Quote. BBB Request A Quote is a great way to find trustworthy movers. Enter your request and contact information on BBB’s website.