Phone: (623)693-6509
Fax: (623)218-9055
Hiring a Moving Company

Find a reputable mover.

The most important thing you can do to insure your move will go smoothly is to choose the right moving company. Get referrals from friends, neighbors and co-workers who were happy with their movers. Find out what movers the corporate relocation companies rely on. Companies with recognizable names are probably your best bet.

Next, check to see if the moving company is a member of the American Moving and Storage Association (AMSA) and has agreed to independent arbitration of any claims. Also, find out if the Better Business Bureau or state consumer protection agency has a record of any complaints on the firm. Some states require moving companies to register before doing business, so check with state licensing agencies as well.

Ask how long the company has been in business. Companies in business for a long time have a track record that can be proven.

Get estimates.

Get written estimates from approximately three companies. It’s fine to have movers give you a ball-park estimate over the phone. However, to get a firm price, you need to ask the company to send a representative to walk through your home while you point out exactly what you want packed and transported.

Be sure that the phone estimate is backed up in writing. Only written estimates are binding. Phone estimates are NOT. A binding estimate is your best guarantee that you will pay only the stated total. While a nonbinding estimate may appear lower, the actual charges can drastically increase at the end of the move.

Remember the lowest bid may not be your best choice. Some less-than-reputable movers may intentionally give you a low estimate to get your business. Later they hike the final price. ALWAYS get the itemized estimate in writing.

Understand the costs.

Moving charges are a combination of weight, distance and services. Check to see if your bid includes extra charges for each added person, packing materials, travel time or waiting time. Be sure to find out if the mover will accept check, credit card or money order.

Do you need extra insurance?
The mover usually provides minimal insurance at no extra charge, but this may not be enough. This insurance is based on the weight, not the value, of an item. Thus, you might get only $30 for a damaged television set. More insurance should be available from the mover as an extra expense that will give you more protection.

Before selecting any insurance option, make sure you know whether you will be reimbursed based on the extent of the damage and the item’s depreciated value or on your cost to replace the item. Also check your homeowner’s insurance for any moving damage coverage.

Packing up: Me or the Mover?
There are some items, such as jewelry or plants, that you will want to pack and move yourself. Ask the moving company for any cost-saving tips on packing and preparation. While having the movers pack everything can add considerably to your bill, some movers may not pay for claims to damaged items you packed yourself. Tip: Don’t let the movers put plastic bubble wrap directly against wood because it may leave a blemish.

Make an inventory.

Know what goes into each box and make sure the head of the moving crew legibly and accurately inventories each item as it is loaded. Review the inventory list before signing the bill of lading. This is your contract with the mover, which sets out what services you are paying for. Read both documents very carefully. Keep the contract and inventory list on hand to check off items as they are carried off the truck at your new home.

What if something goes wrong?
Most moves proceed without too much difficulty. When a reputable mover does the work, less than 10 percent of moves result in people filing claims because of broken items or unsatisfactory service. However, you still want to be prepared just in case. There are several things you can do to protect yourself.

• Take pictures of major items before the move to prove their pre-move condition.
• When unpacking, take more pictures.
• Save the packing material.
• Call the company to send an agent to your home if you find damage after the movers have left.
• You have a right to receive your weight tickets; be sure you get them.

You have up to nine months after final delivery to make any claims, but you should make them as soon as possible.

Resolving Problems

If you have other problems or complaints that you can’t resolve with the moving company, contact:
• AMSA Dispute Settlement Program, 1611 Duke Street, Alexandria, VA 22314
• Better Business Bureau
• Your state consumer protection office (Check your local government listings)
Partial reprint of article published by AARP on on 10-03-2002.

Realty One Group
Realty One Group
7975 N. Hayden Road Suite 101A • Scottsdale, AZ 85258
Phone: (623)693-6509 • Fax: (623)218-9055

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