Hi Everyone,

Today OneSource Moving is going to tell you about a whole area of scams you may not even be aware of — moving scams. Or perhaps you don’t realize how big a problem moving scams can be. As one of Houston’s leading moving companies, here at OneSource Moving, we feel obligated to let you know of the traps out there and advise you on how to make your next move a drama free one.

OK. Let’s get right to it…
Here’s a brief background:

Prior to 1980, there were only a few major national moving companies that were permitted to move goods across state lines. In 1980, the Household Goods Transportation Act was passed, giving movers the right to provide customers with ‘binding estimates’ — meaning, they could now compete on the basis of price instead of just customer service. The Act also had the effect of helping to create a whole new generation of moving companies, and so, of course, competition became fiercer. The end result was that movers had to set lower and lower prices to get your business, which meant that it became more difficult to make a profit. Some of them turned to some questionable practices at that point — and this sometimes amounted to holding your goods ‘hostage’ while they demanded that you pay some trumped-up extra charges. In other words, you might be given an estimate of $2000, for example, to move your household. It sounds reasonable, and you agree and sign the contract. But when the truck shows up at your new home (sometimes weeks after they were supposed to, but that’s another story!) with all your worldly goods, the bill has suddenly mushroomed to $4300 — and you are forced to pay because the mover refuses to unload your goods until you do. In some cases, additional information has been added to the contract after you signed it — and if you try to fight it, you’ll find there may be very little legal recourse available to you.

Unfortunately, Houston is a very big city; therefore a lot of bad people want to rip some of you off. At OneSource Moving, we want to remain our good reputation. Here are some things you can do to protect yourself — and to make sure you don’t become a victim of these moving scams:

1. The most drastic solution: sell everything and start again. This may sound extreme, but dozens of people who’ve had their household goods held up by a moving company wish now that they had done this.

2. If you don’t want to do it all yourself, there are companies that will pack and load the rental truck for you. Call OneSource Moving for moving assistance with packing, loading, crate rentals and much more.

3. If you decide to hire a moving company, check references very carefully. Be especially careful with Internet-based movers. There are obviously reputable firms online, but there are an unusual number of horror stories from customers who hired movers online.  Check out Better Business Bureau for reliable moving companies.

4. Get referrals from local real estate firms, and then get several estimates — in writing — from the companies you’ve chosen. Do everything you can to check out the moving company in advance. Do a search online to make sure the company isn’t already a known scammer; go to the address of the company and check out their yard and their trucks.

Once you think you’ve found a reputable company, here’s a list of the information you want to get from them:

1. The full legal company name (including any ‘dba’ names).

2. Length of time in business.

3. Full legal company address and all phone numbers.

4. Get their Dept. of Transport and any other State or Federal license numbers.

5. Most importantly, ask them for references — and call them.

6. Call the FMCSA’s consumer complaints hotline at 1-888-368-7238 to inquire about the company’s history.

Meanwhile, if you hire a moving company, be sure to educate and inform yourself especially carefully before you sign on the dotted line.

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