My family and I will be moving to a new home soon. Moving! (Strike the chords of doom here.) Fear aside, moving puts so many ideas in my head: new places and things to do, meeting new people and a fresh start.
It also makes me think about cleaning, finally getting rid of stuff I have been meaning to weed out for years, and packing. Endless packing. OK, it’s clear I don’t like moving very much, but it is an occasional rite of passage that we all struggle through.
May is one of the most popular months for this undertaking; it’s also National Moving Month. Don’t make it more of a hassle by getting taken for a ride. Better Business Bureau Northwest and Pacific cautions you to protect yourself from moving scams and unethical business practices.
Common issues include expensive deposits or price increases, missing or damaged items, late deliveries or, in some cases, goods being held hostage for additional payments. These scams add stress to an already stressful situation. But we have some timely and money-saving tips to protect your wallet and belongings during the move.
Do your research. Look up business profiles for moving companies on bbb.org. Many BBB-accredited moving companies are part of the American Moving and Storage Association, which pledges to uphold high standards of trust and resolve complaints quickly. You should also check the licensing with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and confirm insurance coverage.
Get at least three estimates. Written in-home estimates allow you to make an informed decision. 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 are trying to scam you.
Get everything in writing. Ask for written documentation of everything, including any special terms and conditions, complete costs, payment timelines and warranty information. Get copies of any documents you sign, especially the most important document, the Bill of Lading, which is a receipt for your goods and the contract for their transportation.
Protect your possessions. Consider purchasing full value protection insurance to cover any lost or damaged possessions.
Take your valuables with you. Cash, jewelry, photographs and important papers should be taken with you or shipped separately using a shipping service with tracking numbers and insurance.
Better Business Bureau Northwest and Pacific wants to hear from you if you or someone you know has been scammed. You can report it to Scamtracker at www.bbb.org/Scamtracker. You can also find company profiles there that include reviews.
Subscribe to the Morning Review newsletter
Get the day’s top headlines delivered to your inbox every morning by subscribing to our newsletter.