Tips on selecting the best movers from the Better Business Bureau

When Jaime accepted a job offer across the country, the excitement of moving back to the east coast overshadowed the need to thoroughly research long-distance movers. The new job was starting within the month, which unfortunately made for a hasty move.

Jaime got an estimate over the phone and the moving company promised a ten-day delivery. On the day of the move, Jaime’s personal belongings were packed up and she started her trip back east.

“Everything happened so quickly and they seemed reliable, so I trusted them with my stuff,” Jaime recalled.

moving2Jaime arrived at her new home and waited for the movers. They failed to show up within the promised 10 days and she became worried. Almost a week late, the movers finally arrived. Upon delivery, her furniture was broken and scratched, mice were living in her couch, boxes were smashed and her clothes had a foul odor.

Although Jaime purchased insurance, the moving company barely covered the cost of the ruined furniture and clothing. Troubleshooting this move-gone-wrong included meetings with furniture appraisers as well as the movers in question; bills and paperwork; and countless phone calls, all of which could have been avoided.

To avoid a moving mishap, Better Business Bureau Serving Eastern MA, ME, RI & VT (BBB) recommends checking out reliable movers online with BBB’s Accredited Business Directory. Here you can read customer reviews and find out more information on over one hundred BBB Accredited movers.

“In hindsight, I regret not doing more research on my end. Although it would have required me investing more time during a hectic point in my life, it would have saved me time, money and heartache in the end.”

May is National Moving Month and BBB urges consumers to check out these tips for hiring a trustworthy moving company:

Do your research. Look up moving companies on bbb.org. Many movers that are BBB Accredited Businesses are also AMSA ProMovers; these companies have pledged to uphold high standards of trust and to resolve complaints quickly. Note the length of time a mover has been in business and read reviews from previous customers.

Get at least three estimates. Written, in-home estimates help you make an informed decision. Show the mover everything that needs to be moved. Be wary of unusually high or low estimates. If someone says they can give you an estimate over the phone or by email, it’s possible they’re trying to scam you.

Get all agreements in writing. Read everything carefully and make sure you have it all in writing. Get copies of everything you sign, especially the most important document, the bill of lading, which is the receipt for your goods and the contract for their transportation. Never sign any blank forms. Be on the lookout for fine print or any exclusions to your agreement.

Know your rights. Interstate movers are required by law to provide you with certain information that explains the moving process, as well as your rights and responsibilities during and after the move. Ask for proof of licenses, insurance, etc.

Protect your possessions. Make sure that your mover provides full-value protection insurance for any lost or damaged possessions. Note that insurance is by the pound, so expensive items such as a flat-panel television may need additional replacement cost coverage in case they are damaged in transit.

Be wary of unusual requests. If a mover asks for a large down payment or full payment in advance, that may be a warning sign. And if a company says it won’t return your items to you without more money than you agreed to pay, contact BBB or local law enforcement for help.

Take your valuables with you. Cash, coins, jewelry, photographs and important papers should be taken with you or shipped separately using a shipping service with tracking numbers and insurance.

Ask questions. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about anything you don’t understand. If the moving company can’t or won’t answer your questions, you might want to look for another mover.

For more information you can trust, visit us at bbb.org or like us on Facebook.