Few tasks are more stressful than moving. But imagine how much more stressful it would be if you had to pay ransom to recover your kidnapped goods. Moving scams are out there - whether your movers lowball you on the estimate or tack on extra fees at the end - and you need to know how to protect your money and your belongings. Joe Ridout of top watchdog group Consumer Action offers these tips:
1. Make sure the mover is licensed in your state.
2. All movers have something called a ‘claim ratio,’ which is how many claims they’ve received versus how many moves they have made. If the ratio is troubling, keep looking. The Better Business Bureau also has a database where you can find out about your mover's reputation.
3. Find out in advance about all applicable details of the move that might affect the cost (ie. how many flights of stairs, parking, etc). If you don’t ask, they probably won’t tell you.
4. Go online. One of the best resources for consumers is MovingScam.com, a user-generated web site with great information on specific ‘problem movers.’ You can learn how others have dealt with movers taking your stuff hostage and learn which companies have track records that inspire confidence and trust.
5. If you’re moving across state lines, take comfort in knowing that there’s a federal body that regulates interstate moves. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is part of the Department of Transportation. Check out its publication, Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move.
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