May is National Moving Month, the start of what is traditionally the busiest time of year for people changing residences. On Tuesday, May 6, national and state leaders gathered at an event designed to help consumers avoid getting scammed by unlicensed movers.
Better Business Bureau serving Central, Coastal, Southwest Texas and the Permian Basin (BBB) hosted the event at its Austin headquarters; along with the Southwest Movers Association and the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles.
Speakers included Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Administrator Anne S. Ferro; Carrie A. Hurt, President/CEO for BBB serving Central, Coastal, Southwest Texas and the Permian Basin; Whitney Brewster, Texas Department of Motor Vehicles Executive Director; American Moving & Storage Association (AMSA) president and CEO Linda Bauer Darr; and Southwest Movers Association (SMA) Executive Director John D. Esparza.
The speakers gave tips to help consumers find reputable movers and avoid getting ripped off. The event also included packing demonstrations by movers Accredited with BBB and Pinnacle movers from the SMA.
Better Business Bureau serving Central, Coastal, Southwest Texas and the Permian Basin, Texas Department of Motor Vehicles and Southwest Movers Association offer these important moving tips:
Texas law requires movers to give you:
A written proposal or estimate that shows either a guaranteed flat price (binding amount) or a “not to exceed” maximum amount for the move. A written and signed contract before the move begins. Standard liability of 60 cents per pound per item. (Note: It is unlikely standard liability will cover the cost of your item. Some movers offer the option to purchase an increased liability amount for goods or you can purchase insurance that will cover the cost of your possessions.) A brochure that outlines your Rights & Responsibilities under Texas law. Another copy of the contract upon completion of the move. This contract should include the total charge for the move; an itemized list of what the charges are for; and the method used to calculate the charges.
If you decide to alter the original contract, the moving company must write an amendment that outlines any additional charges and services. You and the moving company representative must sign and date the amended contract.
- Never hire an unlicensed mover.
- Check the company’s license status at Truck Stop on the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles website, www.TxDMV.gov. For interstate moves, go to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration website, www.protectyourmove.gov.
- If a moving deal seems too good to be true it probably is; be wary of cheap Internet offers.
- Use reputable online sources, such as Southwest Movers Association (SMA), www.mytexasmover.com, Better Business Bureau (BBB), www.bbb.org, and American Moving & Storage Association (AMSA), www.movers.org, when looking for a moving company.
- ProMovers (AMSA certification) and Pinnacle Movers (SMA Certification) are elite groups of movers held to high standards of service, conduct and ethics within the industry. Visit www.promover.org or www.mytexasmover.com
- Never accept a verbal quote or agreement. Get everything in writing, signed and dated. Read the contract BEFORE signing it. If a truck shows up without the company name and USDOT or TxDMV number printed on it, send it away. (These numbers verify it’s a licensed moving company.)
If you have a problem:
Call your local police if a mover attempts to hold your items hostage for additional payment not in your contract or threatens to drive off with your belongings. Always file a complaint with both the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles and Better Business Bureau.
For more moving tips:
Texas Department of Motor Vehicles, www.TxDMV.gov
Southwest Movers Association, www.mytexasmover.com
American Moving & Storage Association, www.moving.org
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, www.protectyourmove.gov