Reasons to Steer Clear of Online Moving Brokers
Each year, thousands of homeowners entrust their household moves and belongings to moving brokers. Moving brokers are typically found online when searching for moving companies in your area. If you are looking to move to Jacksonville, you have probably searched online for “Jacksonville movers” or “Jacksonville moving companies.” You need to be well aware that sometimes your results will not be actual moving companies, but moving brokers. Unfortunately, most homeowners do not realize that they are talking to and hiring a moving broker until it is too late.
As of late, moving companies and moving brokers have been under fire by the federal government. Why? Because people are looking to move and are hiring fraudulent companies who are not giving them accurate quotes, damaging or stealing their belongings, and demanding more money than agreed.
United States Senator Jay Rockefeller placed moving brokers under strict scrutiny, explaining how moving brokers are using the Internet “to lure consumers into a bait-and-switch game.”
How exactly is it a ‘bait-and-switch game’? It can be challenging for homeowners to determine whether a company is an actual moving company or a moving broker, as the moving broker will do everything it takes to make the consumer think they are a moving company, while in reality, they are not even close.
Rockefeller and professional Jacksonville moving companies like All My Sons Moving & Storage want people to be aware of the fact that moving brokers will offer an attractive and low “binding” estimate for a move - binding meaning that the price will not change. However, since moving brokers are not moving companies, they send the work to an actual mover and the price will change depending on the mover’s fees. Typically, the moving companies that work with moving brokers are sketchy and know that you have been quoted one price, but will still force you to pay more.
How exactly does the moving broker and rogue mover carry out this process? A customer may notice that the moving company that arrives at their home is not the name of the company that they spoke with. Unfortunately by this time it is too late. The customer will typically not question the company’s change of name and have the movers load their precious belongings onto their moving truck. Since the movers will not out-right mention that the quoted price is way too low for their services, once the customer’s belongings are in their possession, they will hold the moving truck hostage until the homeowner pays hundreds of dollars more.
Now that you have plenty of reasons to steer clear of online moving brokers and fraudulent movers, local Jacksonville moving companies have some tips to avoid moving broker fraud:
- Ask plenty of questions: When you are researching moving companies, make sure that you ask who you are talking to. Ask them if you are speaking with a moving broker or an actual mover. If they something along the lines of “I (or we) represent the moving company” avoid speaking with them. Ask if your move will be outsourced in any way.
- Read reviews online and check Licensing: You can check online with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) for complaints and reviews. You can also check the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to make sure that the moving company is registered (with a USDOT Number).
- Triple check your contract: Before you pay any money or sign anything, check the contract or service agreement, bill of lading, any and all paperwork that says “Household Goods Proposal/Contract for Moving Services.” If the company name differs on the contract, you will know if your move is going to be outsourced, you will know that the quote is not ‘binding,’ and you will know NOT to do business with that company or sign on the dotted line.
- Never pay a deposit: A professional Jacksonville moving company will not make you pay before they complete your move. If they do, it should be a very small amount, according to the American Moving & Storage Association.
- If something does not seem right, cancel: Now that you have all of the facts and signals of dealing with a moving broker, if you believe that you are dealing with a broker rather than an actual mover, cancel the deal.