There are frequent news reports of homeowners being taken advantage of by 'rogue' movers. A common technique used by these movers is to bait customers with low estimate, bill a much higher amount on the day of the move and then refuse to release the homeowners' possessions until payment is made. In early February, another story was reported about a couple from Massachusetts that hired a Rhode Island moving company called "Monster Movers" to store and later move the entire contents of their home to a new residence in South Carolina.
The moving company charged the couple massive storage fees and then stopped responding when they called to schedule their delivery. The couple was ultimately forced to move to South Carolina without any of their possessions, including many items that belonged to their deceased son.
After several months, and only with the involvement of Rhode Island police, the couple was finally able to get their possessions back from the moving company. But they incurred significant costs that included a drive back from South Carolina to Rhode Island. The full story is available here.
There are a few simple steps that homeowners can take to protect themselves and their possessions from non-reputable moving companies.
5 Tips for Avoiding a 'Monster Mover'
1) Seek our referrals & reviews-- realtors, friends & family are great resources!
2) Verify the Mover through the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's "Protect Your Move" website (found at www.fmcsa.dot.gov/protect-your-move)
3) Look for companies with industry longevity of at least 10 years
4) Make sure the Mover does an in-home estimate. This gives you a chance to meet a representative of the company in person. It is also allows the Mover to identify any moving challenges. These are things they won't be able to see over the phone or if the home owner fills out a 'home inventory' form instead of having an on-site estimate performed.
5) Choose a Mover based on value, not price. There is a cost to employing skilled workers, utilizing the right equipment, taking the time to properly wrap and secure valuables in preparation for transport, etc. A good mover won't be the cheapest, but they will help you identify opportunities to reduce the overall cost of a move.