Would you hire an unlicensed contractor to build your dream house? Would you let an unlicensed dentist work on your mouth? Would you invite someone into your home you don’t know, that doesn’t have a license, no insurance. Someone that is going to remove everything you own and drive away?
How often do you invite people you don’t know into your home? How many years have you worked to buy everything you own? What would it cost you if you had to replace it ALL? If you are not careful you could loose everything you own in one day! How much did you pay for your couch? I tell people all the time “do not cheap out when choosing a mover”.
I spend a lot of time talking about “how to choose a mover” and why not to hire an unlicensed moving company. We hear stories every day about consumers getting ripped off. Companies demanding more money at destination than the original agreed upon amount. Damage to belongings, items missing and worse case scenario the unlicensed mover that loads everything up and takes off never to be seen again.
The way they lure you in is by quoting cheap prices. If the price seems unrealistic this should be your first warning. Legitimate companies have overhead and if the prices seem to low you can be guaranteed that company is not paying workers comp, general liability or cargo insurance.
Don’t fall victim to one of these Rogue Movers. We have to stop these ruthless heartless thieves. The best way to stop them is to STOP USING THEM and report companies to the PUC that you discover are operating without a license.
Now to make things even worse it isn’t just unlicensed movers that are the problem. The PUC shuts down moving companies for violations every day. Their license gets revoked but they either keep working anyway OR re-open under a different name. While you are on the PUC web site checking license numbers look to see how long they’ve been in business. You should pick a company that has been around for a while.
What does it mean to hire an unlicensed moving company? Aren’t all moving companies the same?
- All Moving Companies are NOT the same.
- If you hire an unlicensed mover and your items get damaged you will not be able to recover anything for your loss
- Items could be stolen and again you cannot recover
- They lure you in with a cheap rate then charge for “extra’s”. In the end the move costs more than if you’d have gone with the higher hourly rate mover.
- These companies are typically only around for a few months then they shut down, change their name and re-open. Usually in the few months they were open they accumulated bad reviews on-line but they don’t care they change name and consumers have no idea.
- These companies hire day labor. Inexperienced people off the street to work with them. No background check means ex-cons and criminals in a lot of cases.
Tips on how not to get ripped off:
- Research companies well in advance of your moving date. Schedule a time to have a representative from the moving company come out to your home. A legitimate company will provide you with a written not to exceed price. If they aren’t willing to give you a written estimate don’t use them (time permitting of course).
- Never book a company based on an on-line quote. The web can be a great resource and good place to start but just because a company looks legitimate and has a pretty web site does not mean they are a company at all.
- You want to deal directly with the moving company you are booking.
- Do not book through a Broker which is what most of these on-line companies are, they sell the job to anyone willing to pay them.
- Check the license number on the PUC web site. Make sure the license is valid and the name matches what they gave you. If the name on the license s not the same as their web site or estimate paperwork contact the PUC immediately. The license number must match the name they are using. If the name doesn’t match it could be a Rogue Company using someone else’s number.
- Make sure they have insurance on file with the PUC. As a consumer you can also ask for a copy of their certificates the name of the company is at the top. It’s also okay to call the company and verify the certificate is indeed authentic.
- What year were they established if it was within a few months or even a year it could very well be one of these companies that got shut down changed their name and is back to rip people off again. In this economy there aren’t a lot of moving companies opening up and you want experience anyway. There are plenty of legal licensed experienced companies out there.
- Go on-line and enter the moving company name check reviews on BBB, yelp and other review sites it may surprise you what you find. Do they have a web site? Do they have a physical address?
- Ask friends who they’ve used and if they were happy. BUT always check license numbers and reviews even if you got a referral. Just because your friend used someone doesn’t mean they checked. I hear of people referring unlicensed movers all the time.
- Choose a moving company that is a California ProMover. This could save you lots of time. These companies are certified and have been pre screened for consumer protection. These companies that are Certified ProMovers are all licensed, insured and have excellent reputations in the industry.
- Sites such as movers.com do not have trucks of their own. They are brokers that take your name and information and sell them to companies willing to pay. Always book directly with the moving company not through a broker.
- Do your research.
- NEVER book solely on Price!
- Do not book a mover just from the web
- Only use a company that is well established legal and licensed.