During a recent lunch, I learned a friend of mine was considering moving her elderly parent from one city in California to another. She sought bids from five (5) different moving companies that were referred to her from a company that advertises itself as “an online service that matches customers with local professionals.” I have been involved in the defense of legitimate movers for over 30 years and had not heard of any one of them. I researched all of the moving companies recommended by this “referral service.” Not a single one of these companies was properly licensed, insured, or qualified to move household goods in the State of California. In other words, none of these referrals were to legitimate companies. I truly believe that a disaster was avoided.
As we approach the busiest time of the year for moving, I thought I would share some helpful hints from the California Moving & Storage Association for avoiding falling prey to rogue/unlicensed movers:
- Don’t book your move on-line or over the phone without verifying that the mover has a location in your area. Drive by the location. Go in and meet the company’s personnel. Use your instincts to discern if the company’s personnel appear to be professional and trustworthy. Let your common-sense guide you… but don’t stop there!
- Verify the company’s license. All movers are required by law to demonstrate their legitimacy on all their documentation.
- Verify the license number with the California Moving & Storage Association (CMSA) or the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC).
- Obtain written estimates for moves of three or more rooms. Legitimate movers are price competitive. Make sure the estimates are based on the same factors (i.e. move and pack; move only, etc.) If a company provides an unusually low bid … beware! The company could be illegal, or they may have made an error while estimating the move. If the latter is the case, the price will likely escalate on moving day.
- Illegal movers may charge by the cubic foot. Legal movers charge by the hour (local moves), and by weight/mileage (distance moves).
- Bandits “rip off” innocent consumers by charging exorbitant fees for extensive and unnecessary packing on items that should be pad wrapped. Furnishings should be wrapped with shrink wrap or protected with special moving blankets.
- Bandits will intimidate consumers to tip the crew. Tipping is not customary but it is accepted when the customer has received exceptional service.
If all else fails, give me a call.
Stay safe and have a great summer.