Q: We’re moving across the country soon, and for the first time can afford to have a moving company load and carry our furniture for us. However, I’ve heard horror stories on the news and from acquaintances that I could be cheated or have to pay much more than the original quote. Should I go with a moving company anyway? – Bill S., Los Angeles
A: There have been occasional press reports about movers that charge homeowners much more than the original quote. This isn’t always the case, but as with any business transaction, a little caution goes a long way.
s with any contractor job, you should get multiple quotes from several different moving companies – at least three. A flat rate or blind estimate made over the phone should not be accepted; the moving company should send a representative to your home to find out exactly how much furniture, boxes and other items are being moved, what items need special attention and so on. You should get a quote in writing, and don’t agree to it before you’ve gotten estimates from the other companies.
To find out how well a moving company does its job, you have a number of options today. The Better Business Bureau is a fair starting point – you can read complaints about the company, as well as whether they’ve been resolved. For national companies, look at websites like Consumerist.com, which posts reader complaints and attempts to resolve or at least get an explanation about an issue from the companies involved.
In major metro areas, you can check review sites like Yelp.com. While these don’t usually have an area where companies can respond to complaints or disputes, you can get a general feel for the company and how it conducts business by the number and types of reviews.
Once you’ve selected a moving company, be sure to read all the fine print before signing a moving agreement. Ask as many questions as you need to in order to feel comfortable, particularly about extra costs that are mentioned in the agreement.
HOME TIP: Consider purchasing relocation insurance during a move to cover potential accidents or damage to items while they’re in transit.
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