Gephardt: Movers Who Jack Up Prices Rack Up Complaints
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Imagine moving to a new state, only to have your moving company refuse to deliver your possessions unless you pay them way more than their original bid.
A new study from the Better Business Bureau shows it’s a problem that happens more often than you might think.
The BBB said it receives an average of 13,000 complaints about the practice every year.
“They’re holding stuff hostage unless you give them more money,” said Utah BBB President Jane Rupp.
The data shows the scam is most prevalent with people who are moving from one state to another.
The BBB’s advice to someone in the market for a mover is to not trust anyone who just wings a quote over the phone. It can be challenging in these times of COVID-19, but it’s important.
“You need to make sure that the mover is actually doing their due diligence,” Rupp said. “Either have them come to your home and price out how much you’re moving or do a video chat and have them price it out. They won’t just say, ‘How many rooms do you have?’”
“It will only take you five or 10 minutes, but if you don’t do that, you could lose your goods,” Rupp said.
The U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, a branch of the U.S. Department of Transportation, regulates interstate and international movers and takes complaints. The agency does not have law enforcement power, but it will send demand letters to bad actors, levy fines and revoke operating authority. It also partners with some state agencies to take legal action.
According to the BBB’s research, of the 4,780 complaints the feds received in 2019, 57% involved overcharging.
“The actual size and severity of this problem is likely much larger and more severe than statistics reflect,” Rupp said.
Fewer than 10% of victims report fraud to the BBB or enforcement agencies, according to the Federal Trade Commission.
In 2018, KSL reported on a woman who moved from Maine to Utah. After loading her goods onto the moving truck, her invoice more than doubled from the original bid.