Every year about this time it’s popular for the media to post stories of inexperienced or uninformed consumers who’ve been ripped off by their mover.

Much of this interest is prompted by the timely annual PR releases from state and national moving and storage associations warning the public about the hazards of selecting a rogue mover.

Some are the result of spot reporting by consumer help advocates trying to resolve a situation for an unsuspecting customer being taken advantage of by an unscrupulous company.

Despite the timing and frequency of these public warnings, many local, state and federal regulatory agencies and consumer protection groups nationwide continue to receive and administer complaints from worried patrons wondering if they’ll ever see their household goods again. And, if so, at what price!

Hidden charges

It’s usually about this time of year that interest to the website begins to pick up. Usually, new guests are feeling somewhat uneasy about their choice of a mover after their furniture was picked up. Unfortunately, many of these first-time visitors are starting their research way too late.

A lot of inquiries ask about the legitimacy of charges added to their local or long distance moving bill after they received their initial price quote.

In their haste to negotiate the absolute lowest price, already anxious consumers often overlook the details in the fine print that outline the additional charges for material, labor, equipment, valuation and accessorial services that many legitimate moving and storage companies routinely include in their higher cost estimates.

Frequently these unexpected billing items include charges for things like:

  • Paper pads ($5/ea) and masking tape ($10/roll) that were reportedly used to wrap wood and upholstered furniture.
  • Inflated new carton costs marked up 300% that were ostensibly used to pack unexpected items the customer left at the last minute
  • Additional accessorial service handling fees for long carries, stair carries, elevators, or dock reservations
  • Unsubstantiated (and often undocumented) charges for excess truck space used
  • Extraordinary credit card processing costs.

Legal extortion

While these charges aren’t necessarily illegal under state and federal law, they are no less onerous to those cash-strapped customers who are expected to pay the much higher final bill from their mover before they receive their things. The media is filled with reports with reports of consumers who have had to pay double the initial estimated charges to finally get their stuff.

To prevent these types of unexpected (and unbudgeted) extra charges, anyone considering relocation should do their homework thoroughly before selecting a relocation option.

Don’t just consider the real, out-of-pocket expenses but read the fine print to see what other contingency costs might be included if the scope of the project changes.

When making your carrier selection, individual customers and corporate clients should always avoid choosing the company with the lowest price.

Instead, look for a reputable moving company and pick the one that will provide the best value!  You won’t be disappointed!