DUPONT – May is National Moving Month, and if 2014 is anything like 2013, approximately 36 million people will relocate to new homes this year. As Washingtonians pack up and move out this spring, Better Business Bureau offers advice on making the process as painless as possible.
“Consumers need to be ready before a big move,” says Tyler Andrew, CEO of BBB serving Alaska Oregon and Western Washington. “We hear too many stories of people being tricked and having their property held hostage until they pay more than what they were quoted. A little bit of planning offers a lot of protection.”
- Research first. Check BBB Business Reviews to see complaint histories and read customer reviews. Verify that required licenses are up-to-date with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration at protectyourmove.gov. Make sure to understand the difference between movers and brokers—middlemen who refer jobs to movers.
- Get estimates. Get at least three in-home estimates. Verbal or online quotes may not be legitimate or binding.
- Know your rights. For interstate moves—across state lines—companies must provide two booklets detailing customer rights. For intrastate moves, check with the local Utilities and Transportation Commission.
- Consider buying full replacement value protection. Additional protection may add to the cost of moving, but will cover repairs or replacement costs—or market value cash settlements—if items are lost or damaged.
- Read the contract. Thoroughly study all paperwork to understand deadlines, liability obligations and costs.
BBB offers additional reminders about moving:
- Most problems arise from disagreements about estimates or liabilities for damages.
- Estimates are educated guesses, but final prices vary depending on the actual services performed.
- Be wary of low estimates, which may end up costing more.
- The lowest insurance rates offer the least protection.