May is National Moving Month, as well as the start of the busy moving season. If you plan to move anytime soon, it’s important that you choose your moving company very carefully. More than 35 million people will move this year, according to the US Department of Transportation. This time of year is ripe for moving scams.
The Better Business Bureau and the American Moving & Storage Association teamed up to provide tips on how to make sure your next move goes smoothly.
1. Make sure your mover is licensed. The regulations are different depending on your state of residence, but all interstate movers must, at minimum, be licensed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. This organization assigns a motor carrier number that can be verified at protectyourmove.gov.
2. Obtain at least three in-home estimates in writing. Know that not all pricing quotes you see online or receive during a phone call can be trusted. A shady business will often quote one price over the phone, and then change the price upon arrival. This is why it is so important to get everything in writing. A legitimate business will send someone to your home beforehand to give you an accurate estimate.
3. Become familiar with your consumer rights. The Federal Motor Carrier and Safety Association provides a list of your rights when it comes to an interstate move. If you’re moving within your state, check with the appropriate state agency. An interstate mover is required to provide you with two manuals that describe your rights in detail.
4. Consider accepting full value protection. Although you might shell out more cash, this step can help you avoid a moving disaster. When you purchase full (replacement) value protection from your mover, this ensures that any belongings that are lost or damaged will be repaired or replaced, or you will receive money so that the item can be repaired or replaced at its current market value, no matter how old it is. In addition, the Federal Motor Carrier and Safety Administration requires interstate movers to make arbitration available to customers so they can settle disputed claims.