Lone Star Moving Co. of San Antonio is a good example of why moving companies in the state of Texas are required to be licensed and have insurance. Consumers who choose to do business with this company have told Better Business Bureau they wind up with heavily damaged belongings and no compensation.
The Lone Star Moving Co.’s website http://www.lonestarmovingco.com lists 160 Dolorosa as the business address and a company representative stated to BBB on the phone that it operates at the address, but mail sent to the address comes back undeliverable. The address is close to the Bexar County Courthouse in downtown San Antonio.
Lone Star Moving Co. is falsely using the Better Business Bureau trademark online. BBB has contacted the company about its use of the BBB trademark on its website. The company has failed to respond or modify its webpage.
As of Sept. 30, 2013, BBB has received 12 complaints about Lone Star Moving Co. in the last three years. The company has refused to respond to all 12. Many of the complaints involve claims that the company damaged furniture and other property and refused to pay the consumer.
BBB also confirmed with the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles that the company does not have the license required to transport household goods in the state of Texas, which may mean they do not have required insurance to handle damage claims. Some consumers stated Lone Star Moving Co. claimed to have insurance, but avoided phone calls and did not return messages when they reported damage.
Although consumers can ask for higher levels of coverage, Texas law mandates that movers have a minimum amount of insurance for the items they move. In order to get a TxDMV license and keep it active, a household goods carrier must have cargo insurance of at least $5,000 for loss or damage to total cargo carried on any one motor vehicle.
Under Texas Transportation Code 643.253, movers operating without a license face penalties that increase in severity based on the number of violations. The first offense is a Class C misdemeanor, with a fine of up to $500 and possible jail time; the second offense is a Class B misdemeanor, with a fine of up to $2,000 and up to 180 days in jail; a third offense is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $4,000 and up to a year in jail.
Gina Almanza of San Antonio hired Lone Star Moving Co to move her possessions from one home to another. She said the company damaged her furniture during a move and would not take responsibility. “They destroyed my furniture, all my belongings,” Almanza said. “When I told them, they told me I could file a claim. I kept calling, but nobody would call back. Every day I called them. Nothing.”
Debra Eckols of New Braunfels estimates that Lone Star Moving Co. caused at least $2,000 in damage to her furniture during a move.
“They banged everything around,” Eckols said. “They didn’t use their dolly. Their truck ran into the Time Warner equipment outside and the neighbors lost their Internet. The dryer was broken, they couldn’t put the bed together and just left it. They messed up the picnic table. They spilled milk on a piece of furniture. They pulled a piece off of the desk and messed up our piano. It was a train wreck.”
Eckols said the company promised to take care of the damage, but then wouldn’t call back.
Before hiring a moving company, take the following steps:
- Check with BBB. Check the company’s BBB Business Review for its rating, complaint history and details regarding those complaints.
- Search Truck Stop. For in-state moves, companies must be licensed with the Texas DMV. Consumers can search Truck Stop by the name of the company, city they live in, zip code or registration number. The registration number is provided to the moving company when it obtains its license. Ask any company you are considering for this registration number and check it in the database.
- Check with the U.S. DOT. If moving to another state, check with US DOT to view the company’s complaint history and safety record.
- Check all the paperwork. In addition to requiring companies to be licensed, Texas state law requires movers to provide consumers with the following:
- A proposal containing a guaranteed price or a “not to exceed” estimate.
- Written contracts before the move (detailing promised services, insurance coverage and price) and after the move (containing an itemized list of charges as well as the method used to calculate the charges.)
- Standard liability of 60 cents per pound per item and an option to purchase insurance over and above this minimum.
- A brochure that outlines consumer rights under Texas law.