Finding the right movers isn’t easy, whether you’re moving long distance or staying within the same city. But if you’re moving a long way, there’s a whole new dimension to your search.
The Internet is great for finding restaurants and other types of recommendations, but it’s not the right place to find a moving company. In fact, moving pros will tell you that the best way to find a good mover is to get referrals from people you know.
“Nearly all of the victims that contact us found their moving company on the Internet,” caution the experts at MovingScam.com.
Remember these tips to avoid becoming the victim of a moving fraud:
- Don’t consider a moving company that refuses to send someone to your home to give you a quote based on an onsite inspection.
- Find a moving company that has at least 10 years in the business.
- Avoid hiring a moving broker. This is a company that will sub-contract your job to another.
- Don’t hire a company whose representative fails to give you the legally required pamphlet “Your Rights and Responsibilities when you Move.”
- Never pay a deposit upfront.
- Don’t pay for the move until you’ve checked all of your belongings.
Once you’ve gathered the names of several movers who sound good, get the following information:
The company’s US DOT number
Believe it or not, but hundreds of moving companies lack something as basic as a license to transport belongings from one state to another. Those that are licensed will show up at the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) website. Enter the company’s DOT number at the website, and you can learn if its license and insurance coverages are current as well as the company’s size, safety record, and crash information.
If your move will be within your current state, contact the state office that oversees moving companies. You can find a list of these at the FMCSA website.
How much the company will cover
Get very clear on the valuation coverage the company offers. This is the amount the company will pay if your belongings are lost or damaged while in its care. Interstate movers are required to offer two types of valuation coverage, Full Value Protection and Released Value Protection. Make sure you understand the difference between the two. You’ll find an explanation on the FMCSA’s website.
You should also check your homeowners insurance policy to determine whether your household items are protected under it during a move. If not, you may want to look into purchasing third-party liability insurance, especially if you’ll be moving high-value items.
An itemized list of all fees
Insist on getting a breakdown of all of the moving company’s charges, including surcharges for taking apart furniture, packing and unpacking, and other miscellaneous charges.
A full explanation for charges you don’t understand
Like any contract, don’t sign a contract with a moving company until you understand everything in it. Ensure that the price is what you agreed to, the pickup and delivery dates are clearly listed, there are no blank spots, and that the company representative has also signed it.
The National Association of REALTORS suggests choosing from among the movers who are certified by the American Moving and Storage Association.
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