Thanks to a new law, moving companies will no longer be able to pull the old bait and switch on customers moving between states, reports Kelli Grant at the Wall Street Journal.Now, before the movers load the truck they’re required to give customers an itemized list of any adjustments to their estimated price. Some have been known to slap extra dollar signs on the end of bills once the customers’ belongings were unloaded.
If they fail to comply, they’ll face a $10,000 fine from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
Last year, one customer, who filed a a complaint with the Better Business Bureau, hired movers through a classified ad and was quoted a rate of $80 an hour. After they had loaded the truck they demanded twice that amount in cash, and threatened to lock the customer’s things in storage if he didn’t pay. The BBB received numerous consumer complaints like this one last year, prompting the new law.
Since the law only applies to state-to-state movers, it’s still wise to do your homework before choosing a company. Here are some tips from the BBB to help you make your decision:
Get at least three written in-home estimates. A mover needs to see how much stuff you have for them to be able to estimate how much to charge to move it, so if a mover gives you an estimate over the phone or through email it’s probably going to be wrong.
Check that they’re licensed. You should be able to find a movers licensing number at FMCSA’s website.
Get full value insurance: Your moving company will likely have insurance of their own, but it won’t cover all of your items. If something unexpected happens or the movers are careless you want to make sure you’re protected.
Review their past complaint history. Like any business you’re going to spend a significant amount of money with check what past consumers have had to say about them at BBB.org and ProtectYourMove.gov.