How to Protect Yourself: Consumer Guide to Moving
Source: The Florida Attorney General's Office
As a fast growing, busy state, Florida offers a variety of reasons to move one's residence from one place to another. Unfortunately, some moving companies engage in unscrupulous practices that may result in high costs or poor service. To protect yourself from these companies, remember the following:
Obtain Written Estimates
There are more than 700 moving companies in Florida. Before moving, obtain at least three written estimates. Interstate moves are priced according to weight and distance. Local moves are usually based on hourly charges. The estimate is either binding (the mover guarantees the price) or non-binding (your final charge is unknown until after they weigh your shipment or after your property is loaded onto the truck). A binding estimate is more advantageous because there are no surprises at the end of the move.
Ask about Insurance Coverage
Ask about the type and extent of liability coverage the mover carries. A mover without adequate coverage for the workers could put the consumer at risk. If the workers are injured, the worker could look to the consumer for coverage. Demand to see written proof of insurance coverage. Ask about extra insurance for your goods. You may need extra insurance to cover expensive items damaged during a move. Call your insurance agent to see if your homeowner's policy covers your move.
Be careful when Packing
If you do your own packing, do a complete job. Many complaints arise after consumers unpack and find damaged goods. If the mover is doing the packing, be sure you know how much the mover is going to charge for this service. Custom packing can be expensive.
Research the Company
Find out how long the mover has been in business and research its past successes and failures. Call your Better Business Bureau and government agencies (example: the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, at (800) 435-7352, the Office of the Attorney General and the Federal Trade Commission) to learn whether any complaints or lawsuits are pending.
Check local ordinances
Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties have local ordinances that govern local moves. Call the County Commission to get a copy of the ordinance.