By Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt
Summer is a busy time for families to relocate. Often, this requires the assistance of a professional moving company. Most movers are legitimate and provide quality service, but a few unscrupulous operators seem to turn up at this time of the year trying to scam consumers. Whether you are a college student moving back home for the summer or a large family relocating across the country, you should expect and receive fair treatment from the company you hire to move your belongings.
There are a few warning signs you should look for that could tip you off to a questionable moving company.
- Payment demanded first. If the moving company demands full payment or a very large deposit before starting the job, you run the risk of not seeing your money – or the movers - again.
- No Inspection. Beware of movers who give you an estimate without coming to your home to inspect the items being moved. Often a blind bid sounds too good to be true, and it usually is.
- No local address, license or insurance. A company operating without local facilities or appropriate insurance is most likely not going to provide the level of service or protection you want for your property.
- No Federal Registration. Moving companies are required to obtain and display United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) numbers on all of their commercial vehicles. The company is also required to be registered with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
- Rental trucks and no company name. If the moving service has no official company name or operates with generic rental trucks instead of fleet vehicles, the operators will be more difficult to track down if you have complaints after the move.
Always demand a detailed written estimate before agreeing to any services or payment. At the time your mover provides a written estimate, the company is required by federal law to provide you with a copy of the U.S. Department of Transportation publication titled “Ready to Move?.” Before your mover finalizes the order for service and shipment of household goods, your mover must also furnish you with the following four documents:
- “Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move” – a federally produced booklet.
- A concise, easy-to-read, accurate summary of your mover’s arbitration program.
- A notice of availability of the applicable sections of your mover’s tariff for the estimate of charges, including an explanation that you may examine the tariff sections, or have copies sent to you upon request.
- A concise, easy-to-read, accurate summary of your mover’s customer complaint and inquiry handling procedures, Including the mover’s main phone number and contact information.
If you have additional questions about moving companies or possible scams, please contact the Kansas Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at (800) 432-2310 or www.ag.ks.gov.