A blog post this morning called "I Just Had A Customer Ripped Off By A Mover" by Debbie Gartner got my brain wheels running. In it, she talks about how a clients' household items were 'held hostage' by a moving company that wanted more money.
I've heard these stories all my life. My father has been a commercial insurance agent handing moving companies for almost his entire career. Thankfully, most of my moving was done via military transport or by myself so I've not had to deal with this.
The best resource out there is the government website called Protect your Move.
This website includes everything you need to know about protecting yourself - how to check up on potential moving companies, what you need to look for in the contracts you sign, how to spot a shady mover, and, most importantly, what to do when a moving company demands more money before unloading your items.
A couple of take aways from the website:
*The moving company you hire MUST provide you with a booklet entitled "Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move." (File opens as a .PDF) It is REQUIRED BY LAW to provide this.
*The US Department of Transportation allows you to search companies by name. This search shows you their status as well as any complaints that have been made against the company.
The most important thing to remember is there is help:
*If you have problems with your move and need help, you can file a complaint online or call 1-888-DOT-SAFT (1-888-368-7238), which is available Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. eastern time.
You must research when it comes to selecting a mover just like you do when selecting your REALTOR®, the plumber, the electrician or the guy who is going to fix your pool filter. A recent client, the day before closing, told me that she'd found someone on Craigslist. They emailed back and forth and set an appointment. She called for some reason or another and the 'movers' asked, "So when will the truck be there?" They were expecting her to rent the truck. They were just the bodies.
Remember: YOU DO HAVE RIGHTS! Know them and use them.