Washington – American Trucking Associations and the ATA Moving and Storage Conference marked the beginning of National Moving Month by celebrating the country’s professional movers and offering consumers a number of tips for selecting a mover as peak moving season begins.
“More than two million Americans move between states in peak moving season between May and September,” said MSC Executive Director Ryan Bowley. “There are more than 8,000 professional movers in the country, helping Americans move from childhood homes to first apartments, starter homes and beyond. We praise those hard-working men and women for helping Americans move their most precious possessions as we celebrate National Moving Month.
“While moving can be a time of high anxiety, professional movers are focused on making this process as smooth and as stress-free as possible,” he said. “Additionally, the MSC’s ProMover certification program gives consumers an easy way to find reputable, professional movers by searching the directory at moving.org.
“With the cost and time constraints around moving and establishing a new home, people can unfortunately find themselves falling victim to moving scams by 'rogue operators' that cost them more money than they should pay or worse. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has highlighted an increase in deceptive business practices related to moving, and the ATA-MSC and our member companies are committed to partnering with government to protect consumers,” said Bowley.
To help ensure they have a successful move – and to avoid becoming the target of scam companies – consumers can follow these key tips:
• Get at least three in-home estimates. Reputable movers will want to see your home and your goods before telling you the cost of a move, just like a professional contractor will want to see your home before estimating the cost of a project.
• Research your moving companies. Interstate movers must be registered with the US Department of Transportation (DOT) and have a DOT Number and the correct operating authorities. You can look them up at ProtectYourMove.gov.
• Know your rights and obligations as a consumer. For interstate moves, moving companies must provide you with two documents: “Ready to Move?” and “Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move.” Read these documents thoroughly and ask questions if there is something you do not understand.
• Avoid large down-payments. While some movers may ask for a small deposit to hold a date, any company who asks for large deposits or full payment upfront – especially in cash or through a service such as Venmo – should be avoided.
• Read all paperwork and never sign a blank document. Professional movers ensure that all agreements between you and the mover are in writing. Keep copies of all paperwork (either as printouts or saved PDFs) for future reference, especially your bill of lading, which is the contract between you and your mover.
• Understand the difference between a mover and a broker. Brokers will book your move and then sell it to a different company to do the actual move. Be wary that many scam companies operate as Internet-only brokers without proper DOT registration – if you cannot find them on ProtectYourMove.gov, this is a red-flag.
• Consider liability options and valuation. Know how much your goods are worth and make an informed choice of liability protections when booking your move. What you select will determine what the mover will be responsible for in case of loss or damage. Always take valuable documents and other items with you.
• Ask questions. Any reputable moving company knows that moving, while exciting, can also be challenging, and they are happy to assist in any way possible. If a company is unhelpful or refuses to take time to answer your questions and alleviate your concerns, look for a different company that is more willing to assist.
For more tips and resources, visit moving.org.