The moving season is upon us. More people move in June than any other month. But Consumer Reports says be wary. The Better Business Bureau got more than 8-thousand moving company complaints last year.
There are ways to avoid getting ripped off.
Lauren Richeson is settled in her new apartment now-but for months a moving company held her belongings hostage.
That even though she paid the total moving cost agreed upon-900 dollars up front.
When the movers got to her new home they demanded 900 dollars more.
Richeson says, "I freaked out. I refused. And so they shut the door, put my things back on and drove off with all my stuff."
Lauren says her mother found the company in the phone book. It gave her a low estimate sight unseen.
Anthony Giorgianni of Consumer Reports says,, "If a company insists on giving you an estimate over the phone or Internet instead of coming to your home, that's a bad sigh. And never sign a document that has a lot of blank spaces that haven't been filled in. Another red flag? The movers are using unmarked trucks."
To find a legitimate mover with a good reputation, seek out recommendations from real-estate agents or friends who have actually used the company.
Giorgianni says, "We recommend getting estimates from at least three companies, and do your homework. Make sure companies are licensed, for example."
There's a helpful website, ProtectYourMove.gov, that lists all companies licensed for interstate moves and tells you if there are any complaints.
You can also check the ratings of the Better Business Bureau at bbb.org.
Giorgianni says, "If there's ever a problem, such as damaged or missing goods, notify the mover immediately. If you think you've been defrauded, contact your state attorney general or consumer protection department."
Lauren went after the company-calling the police and notifying several government agents. She finally was able to recover her possessions without paying another cent.
Consumer Reports says be aware moving companies are allowed to charge a certain percentage above their estimate upon delivery. Also worth knowing-regulations are different if the move is out of state as opposed to within state lines.