According to the U.S. Census Bureau, one in six Americans will move to a new home this year.
About one-third of those who move will do it when school is out for the summer. If you will be among them, plan to protect your goods and your pocketbook.
Complaints against the moving industry logged by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) more than doubled since 2000. Claims include loss and damage, overcharging, late pickup or delivery, and worst of all, loads taken hostage until excessive bills are paid. The safety group suggests that you:
* Get good estimates. Ask people to recommend a good mover and check the company’s references.
* Have at least three firms estimate. If the three are similar, go with the low bidder after checking out the company. If one is far lower than the others, it’s probably wrong.
* Call FMCSA at (888) 368-7238 to see whether there are complaints against a company and what types of complaints they are. If the complaints involved overcharge or hostage claims, don’t use the company.
* Check the mover’s safety record at safersys.org. If it has more than the average number of times its vehicles have been put “out of service” for failing weigh station inspections, look elsewhere.
* Know your rights. For a state-to-state move, U.S. law does not allow a mover to hold your goods and demand payment of more than 110 percent of their written estimate. They can bill for more later if the load was heavier than anticipated.
* For an in-state move, insist that your bill of lading gives you the same protection as the federal law.
* Get insurance. Movers pay about 60 cents per pound, which may not cover the cost of damaged goods.
Check with your home insurer for better coverage.
As usual, with any financial issue like this, we’ll be glad to work with you on determining if any of these strategies will work for you and your family! Please keep in mind that this tip is designed to be of help for you, but is not to be relied upon as advice. It is merely a reminder that there are many choices you have available to you, and that planning is the only way to find the right answers for your situation! As with any financial issues, make sure you get the right information before making a decision! If you have any questions, we’ll be glad to help you!