A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

BBB Trends: Back to campus or into a new home, choose your moving company carefully

Moving back to campus or moving to a new home takes a lot of organizing, planning, and patience. Choosing someone to pick up all of your belongings and take them to another location is a scary prospect, and sometimes the details involved with moving aren’t exactly clear before the first box is packed.

Know this: you have rights and responsibilities that protect both you and the moving company that begins when you decide to move until the time the items are dropped at the new door.

• Everything starts with the estimate – have the company tell you exactly how much the move will cost in writing and read the fine print.

• Know what estimate you received – there are three types:

1. Nonbinding – the final cost may be different than what you were quoted originally.
2. Binding – the final cost is the amount you were told during the estimate.
3. Guaranteed to not exceed – the final cost must be at or lower than the number contained in the quoted price.

• Insurance is important – the moving company is liable for the value of your items, but there are different levels of liability that may impact the amount of reimbursement you receive if an item is lost or damaged.

• Verify licensing – interstate movers must be licensed and insured by the federal government. Trucks are assigned a motor carrier number, one which you can confirm with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

• Check out who you choose – hiring a moving broker is different than hiring a moving company; they act as middlemen between you and a mover, so make sure you know who you’re working with.

Unfortunately, scams are also something to be aware of when getting ready to move.

One common scam is when a moving company lures a customer into a deal with low rates and then holds their items hostage in exchange for a ransom that’s two to three times higher than the original estimate.

Another is when a deposit is put down on a truck and a moving date is agreed upon but the moving company never shows up.

There are a few red flags that can help you spot a shady moving company, so be wary if they refuse to do on-site inspections; if they demand a large deposit in cash; or if they only have a P.O. Box and have no listing of a brick and mortar location.

Before packing the hot pot, laundry basket or the family wagon and following the truck to your new location, visit bbb.org to find a reputable moving company and get additional tips. Should you suspect something doesn’t seem quite right, report it to scamtracker.org.

Sandra Guile is the Community Outreach Specialist for BBB. She promotes BBB’s message of marketplace ethics through public speaking engagements, presentations, media relations, press releases, web content, and other written materials. Your BBB is located at 1 East 4th Street Suite 600 Cincinnati, Ohio 45202 – to reach the office, call (513) 421-3015.

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