According to one recent study, moving is the most stressful life event. Divorce/separation/breakup and a new job were a rather distant second and third.
So, when it is time to move, the last thing your family or business needs is additional stress. Unfortunately, there are many companies that use moving scams and stress to try and trick you out of your money. Many of these companies have been running these scams for many years. So, they are subtle and effective.
Transparency is usually the most effective anti-scam tool. At Green Van Lines, we are very thorough, encourage your questions, and always answer them. We are focused on relationships, and not a one-time relocation.
Damage Report Windows
Legally, customers have nine months to report move-related damage. That sounds like a long time, but it passes quickly. Most of us have not fully unpacked nine months after the truck departs.
Procedurally, the mover has thirty days to acknowledge a claim. Then, the company has ninety days to consider the claim and either pay or deny it. Before-and-after evidence is usually key, especially if the mover denies your claim and you wind up in court. The same procedure applies to miss items, but these claims are even more difficult to prove.
I Guarantee It
Legally, there are two types of moving quotes. Most quotes are non-binding estimates. The final cost cannot exceed 10 percent of the estimate if the move takes place within thirty days.
Binding estimates are, well, binding, unless the customer requests extra services, such as packing or unpacking.
Additional fine print usually adds some strings. For example, the contract might say the quote is binding “if” the weight does not exceed a certain number. Always carefully review moving contracts, no matter how well you know the moving company. Also, remember that almost everything is negotiable. If you do not like the price, you have the right to bargain or find someone else.
Frankly, it is hard to believe that some people fall for this one. Get everything in writing, down to the last detail.
Also, make sure the writing is specific, particularly inventory lists on long distance moves. A laptop computer is not “office supplies.” It’s already hard to claim items were lost. These claims are even harder to prove if the item is not on the inventory list.
State laws require insurance, and these laws are straightforward. Federal law requires liability protection, and this law is complex.
There are two levels of liability protection:
• Full Value: If items are damaged during the move, the moving company must, at its option, repair the item, pay the owner to repair it, or replace it. Movers usually limit their liability if the item is extraordinarily valuable. Customers usually pay extra for full value liability.
• No-Cost: This option limits the mover’s liability to sixty cents per pound. If movers damage a $2,000 iMac which weighs five pounds, the company pays a maximum $3 (.60 x 5). Sometimes, this option is the best way to go. Other times, that’s obviously not the case.
Full value is usually the default liability arrangement. Generally, unless you select no-cost liability, you must pay the full value charge.
Most moving companies charge extra if the new address is on the tenth floor or is inaccessible for large trucks. Always ask for a detailed list of charges, review it closely, and assume that if it’s possible to charge a fee, the movers will probably assess it.
Cost of Packing
Pick your poison. If movers pack their own things, the company is often not responsible for damage, even if the movers throw the boxes into the truck. If the company packs things, the cost of the move will be considerably higher.
At Green Van Lines, we offer a number of pricing and moving options for all budgets. Some include packing and some do not.
Companies often try to avoid complaints and problems by frequently changing their names and locations. So, be sure the company has a local address and is fully licensed and insured under the same name.
On a related note, always ask for references. Personally reach out to these people and ask them about their experiences. Online reviews are useful, but anyone can say anything online.
On another related note, all moving companies must provide all customers with a government pamphlet called “Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move.” If the company does not provide this information almost immediately, go somewhere else.
NEVER pay a deposit. A reputable company will never ask for any money upfront. Industry-standard is full payment upon delivery. Furthermore, when you pay, use a credit card or PayPal if possible. These payment methods make it easier to challenge the charge if things go sideways.
Many companies send “inspectors” to estimate the move’s weight and give a quote. Beware the inspectors who walk through your business or residence and essentially guess at its contents. If you are buying a king-size bed, be sure the estimator adds that to the inventory. If you are selling some equipment prior to the move, mention that as well.
Hundreds of movers fall victim to this scam. When moving day comes, the company refuses to relocate your things unless you pay the extra money, usually in cash.
Not all one-bedroom apartments are the same. A sectional is a lot heavier than a futon. Since movers calculate charges by weight and distance, if there is no visual inspection, the company only has part of the information it needs to give an estimate.