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Protect Yourself From Moving Fraud

Dec 28, 2007
More than 40 million Americans move each year for personal motives and career opportunities. It's a momentous event in anyone's life. Your money, your memories are at risk. It can also be stressful, even under the best of circumstances. Distinguish how to avoid one of the most taxing situations that can arise; guard yourself from deceitful, "rogue" movers.

Most moving companies are lawful businesses that do excellence work. But in recent years, a growing number of grievances have been filed against interstate movers and many of those complaints jump from the fraudulent practices of a small percentage of deceitful movers known as rogue movers.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), has kick off a joint venture with other Federal, State and local law enforcement agencies, consumer groups, and the moving industry to make sure you have the information you require to "Protect Your Memories. Your Money. Your Move." from scam.

Here are some red flags for spotting rogue movers. Rogue movers characteristically work like this: Without ever visiting your home or seeing the possessions you want moved, they give a stumpy estimate over the telephone or Internet. Once your prized possessions are on their truck, they insist more money before they will deliver or unload them. They hold your goods prisoner and compel you to pay more - sometimes much more than you thought you had agreed to - if you want your possessions back.

Your best protection is to recognize a rogue mover before they have your goods. Here are the "red flags" to look out for:
1. The mover doesn't propose or agree to an onsite examination of your household goods and gives an estimate over the telephone or Internet sight unseen. These estimates often sound too-good-to-be-true. They usually are. Remember old saying "if it is too good to be true, then it probably is".

2. The moving business demands cash or a hefty deposit before the move.

3. The mover doesn't make available to you a copy of "Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move," a booklet movers are mandated by Federal policies to supply to their customers in the planning stages of interstate moves.

4. The moving company's web site has no home address and no information about their registration or insurance.

5. The mover alleges all goods are covered by their insurance.

6. When you call the mover, the telephone is answered with a generic "Movers" or "Moving company," instead of the company's name.

7. Offices and warehouse are in terrible condition or nonexistent.

8. On moving day, a leasing truck arrives rather than a company-owned or marked fleet truck.

Choosing a reputable rover is very important. Here's an important "to do" list to help you select the right mover.

1. Get a in print an estimate from several movers. The estimate ought to be based on an genuine inspection of your household goods.

2. Make sure the mover is listed with the proper authority and insured. For moves from one State to another, a U.S. Department of Transportation number is required by FMCSA. You can double confirm a mover's registration on ProtectYourMove government website. For moves within a State, requirements vary. Check with your State, county or local consumer associations agency or your State attorney general.

3. Check the mover's grievance history. Contact your local Better Business Bureau and consumer protection agencies.

4. Bear in mind your priorities when choosing a mover. If you hire a mover based solely on the low-price, you may be sacrificing other things that are actually more important, such as getting your belongings moved and delivered on time. And keep in mind, movers are required by law to deliver your goods for no more than ten percent above the price of a nonbinding estimate. This is known as the 110 percent rule.

5. Do your homework. Read "Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move," a booklet from the Federal Government that your mover is mandated to give you if you are moving from one State to another. This booklet also has information you'll need if your goods are lost or damaged during the move.

Doing your part is very important. The Federal government, State and local law enforcement agencies, and the legitimate moving industry have united forces to combat moving fraud, but you have a vital role to play as well. If you're planning to move, it's imperative to learn as much as you can about your rights and responsibilities. The best source of information is on the FMCSA Web site.
About the Author
Jerry Johnson owns the Home Video Security Systems website as well as several other successful webstores. Install an alarm and reduce your stress level. Visit the homevideosecuritysystems.com for great buys on home video security systems.
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