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WARNING: Read this before booking a move over the Internet

WARNING: Read this before booking a move over the Internet

Remember - If you have a written estimate done by a representative who came to your house, you have certain legal protections against the price being jacked up later.

Moving your family or business is a big task but there is one thing you should know from step one. Finding a mover on the internet is fast and easy, the Internet is a great source for research and a great way to get an idea of average moving costs with moving calculators found on most moving company websites. But it should not be used as a means to contract with any mover or packing company.  A fair and reasonable estimate can only be given if the movers estimator actually views the goods being moved.

If you have a written estimate done by a representative who came to your house, you have certain legal protections against the price being jacked up. So long as you do not make any material changes in the move, the mover can only collect within a certain percentage of his estimate on delivery. Many movers know if they give you a written estimate, they will be legally bound within limits to their estimate, so they may try to actually talk you out of sending an estimator. This is a warning sign that this is a company you do NOT want to work with, no matter how nice or sincere the fellow sounds on the phone, or how cheap they may seem.

There are many unscrupulous moving companies or individuals who pose as movers with Internet websites. They lure unsuspecting consumers with unusually low prices and then hold the goods hostage, claiming the cost of moving the goods far exceeded the amount of the estimate. In the packaging industry we have heard many stories of lost or missing property so insure each item is tagged with some type of inventory identification label. Make sure everything goes in a box and all boxes are well sealed with packing tape and some people sign over the tape so they know it has not been opened and resealed with simular tape.  

These moves are often conducted between multiple states to avoid scrutiny by the states’ law enforcement officials. Federal law enforcement does not have enough resources to track, prosecute, and convict these thieves and extortionists.

We join with other packaging professionals and encourage federal lawmakers to provide resources for enforcement of the federal motor carrier laws and to crack down on these questionable activities. For now, avoid doing business with a mover / packer that deals strictly over the Internet or by telephone. Always get a written estimate and research the movers for complaints. Always check with your local Better Business Bureau website.



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