As a consumer and investigative reporter, I dig for the truth.
So let’s start with some truth: I’ve never blogged before. I hope this blog brings light to information that could go under the radar and turns out to be an important resource for Mainers in the market for consumer alerts and product safety information that matters to your family. I’ll also sometimes write about how a news story makes it “on air,” some entertaining behind-the-scenes antics, and stories that don’t make the newscast rundown.
Let’s start with this one. Someone somewhere decided May is “National Moving Month.” The American Moving & Storage Association says May kicks off the busiest time of year for moving and the Better Business Bureau warns “unlicensed movers and dishonest scammers are waiting to take advantage of unwary consumers.”
Great. Moving is already a pretty miserable* thing to do and now this, right? (See footnote for personal aside.)
The BBB says last year, it got 9,300 complaints against movers in the US. “Complaints included damaged or missing items, big price increases over originally-quoted estimates, late deliveries, and goods being held ‘hostage’ for additional, often disputed, payments,” the BBB said in a news release.
Some suggestions from my pal Paula Fleming at the BBB:
- Research the company thoroughly: While state regulations vary, all interstate movers must, at minimum, be licensed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
- Get at least three written in-home estimates: Remember that the lowest estimate can sometimes be an unrealistic, low-ball offer, which may cost you more in the end.
- Know your rights: Interstate movers must give you two booklets detailing your rights which are also available online. If a company threatens to hold your belongings “hostage,” enlist the help of BBB or local law enforcement.
- Consider accepting full value protection: It may cost a few dollars more, but it can provide some peace of mind and eliminate headaches after your move.
*The only move I didn’t hate was 3 years ago when my older brother helped me pack up a Budget truck, and I moved back to Maine. It’s great to be home.