Watch out for moving scams and shady movers that don’t have your best interest in mind.
Nearly 40 million people move each year, according to the American Moving & Storage Association, a trade association with more than 3,200 moving company members. In an online poll, 38 percent of Angie’s List members say they encountered a problem with their most recent move, such as damage, extra fees or stolen goods.
AMSA president Linda Bauer Darr says unscrupulous movers cause problems for homeowners and industry professionals. “We don’t like to call them movers because they’re really crooks,” she says. “The rogues are our No. 1 complaint.”
Newlywed Lance Hopper looked forward to moving from Jacksonville, Florida, to Tampa with his bride. Not yet an Angie’s List member, he called a moving company: Ocean Moving and Storage in Pembroke Park, Florida.
“I wasn’t comfortable doing this, but I had to rely on a phone estimate from the mover as I was already in Tampa working,” Hopper says of his summer 2010 move. “They told me they had a truck coming through town with enough room to pick up my stuff — all for $1,200.”
Hopper returned to Jacksonville to supervise the movers and says problems started as soon as the moving truck arrived late to his house. “There was no way they could fit everything in the truck,” he says. “They only loaded half of my wife’s belongings.”
When the moving truck arrived in Tampa, Hopper says the movers refused to unload and demanded the $1,200 he agreed to pay over the phone in cash. “They were absolutely hateful,” he says. “They held [my belongings] for two days because they had another job scheduled. I ended up paying them $1,800 in cash for everything. This was the worst business I’ve ever dealt with in my entire life.”
He says the Tampa move motivated him to join Angie’s List. Ocean Moving, which didn’t return calls seeking comment, has 27 complaints on file with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration since 2008.