Like within any industry, the household goods business has its share of rogue companies that have been known to prey on the general public. From denying claims, lost belongings and holding the consumer’s items for “ransom”, reports of abuse by moving companies happen all too often.
The majority of these consumer abuses occur by those movers who are operating under their own authority and are normally not associated with a major van line. These rogue movers will often work under their own generic “van line” name.
Forty million people move each year and the large majority are completed with customer satisfaction by both, van lines and independent movers. These movers also tend with the negative impact placed on them and the industry by the fraudulent companies that take advantage of the consumer.
The major cause for the consumer who gets caught in one of these moving scams often lies with choosing the cheapest priced mover. Economics is certainly understandable, but going with the cheapest price is usually a recipe for disaster. Extensive research and understanding how the moving industry operates, play key factors in choosing the best moving company for your relocation.
With May through October being the busiest time for movers, the peak moving season will soon be approaching and there are steps that consumers can take to increase their chances of obtaining a care-free move:
- Never hire a moving broker
- Make sure the moving company has been in business for at least 7-10 years
- Visit their office to make sure they are who they say they are
- Never accept an “estimate” over the phone
- Make sure their trucks show the appropriate markings as required under federal law
- Check them out with the Better Business Bureau (BBB)
- Check their ICC number against the FMCSA records
These are just a few steps that consumers can take to validate a moving company’s reputation and record particularly when it comes to storing your household goods.
Most moving companies offer storage facilities should you have to store your items until your residence is ready for the move-in process. Moving companies holding the consumer’s belongings in storage for “ransom” have been documented and the FMCSA is now enforcing laws against these type of movers through the Map-21 Act.
Although these type of incidents do occur, it is most often done by independent movers not associated with a major van line. If you must place your belongings in storage, it is recommended to deal only with a major van line that is well-known; not with an independent moving company or a company which operates under its own “van lines” name.
Although many independents can be trusted, the key factor here is for you, the consumer, to have peace of mind. The greatest peace of mind you can have is to place your storage in a storage facility that you have complete control over such as a mini-storage facility.
By utilizing a self-storage facility, you and only you will hold the key and access rights to your belongings. If you are concerned with a possible “ransom” scam by movers, this would alleviate any fears of such an incident occurring.
Through research and investigation and fully understanding the household goods moving process, consumers can avoid becoming the next victim to moving fraud.