Passage of AB 2118 Protects Consumers & Professional Moving Companies

We always try to provide up to date news relating to consumer protection when it comes to using moving companies. Sadly, there are still those who will take advantage of the unsuspecting consumer during an emotional and stressful time such as moving. There are so called “moving companies” out there that lure customers with enticingly low prices, only to hold their goods hostage for more money before delivery? And they are so rampant that it finally took a new law, Assembly Bill (AB) 2118 to counteract all the consumer fraud.

Professional movers are regulated by the Public Utilities Commission (PUC — in California the CPUC). According to their website, “The CPUC regulates privately owned electric, natural gas, telecommunications, water, railroad, rail transit, and passenger transportation companies. The CPUC serves the public interest by protecting consumers and ensuring the provision of safe, reliable utility service and infrastructure at reasonable rates …. We regulate utility services, stimulate innovation, and promote competitive markets, where possible. ”

AB 2118 was sponsored by Assembly Member Betsy Butler (D-Los Angeles), and was begun with the California Moving & Storage Association. They agreed that something more was needed to protect the consumers. Basically, this bill updates the Household Goods Carriers Act by improving ways illegally operating moving companies can be prosecuted. It ensures that unpermitted movers are held to the same stringent standards as legally permitted movers.

Additionally, AB 2118 codifies how household goods are defined, and creates a new section that specifically addresses infractions of license, membership and location falsification. How can you find out more? The PUC is directed through this bill to create a “Know Your Rights” website that all professional moving companies can link to, to help ensure that there customers are fully informed.

The best way to find a reputable mover is to do your research. Look for members of national and local moving associations like CMSA or AMSA and consumer business bureaus such as BBB. CMSA and AMSA have also started a program of certifying legal licensed movers with the distinction of ProMover. Check the CMSA web site for a list of California ProMovers to ensure your move is in good hands. AND the biggest thing is NEVER be tempted by a cheap price.

Call All Reasons Moving at 408-240-0244 for a no-cost, no-obligation estimate for your moving needs.

Only Hire Legal Moving Company – Don’t get Ripped off!

California ProMoverWould 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.

Bottom Line: 

  • 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.

Home Safety Tips for the Holidays

Decorations for Holiday'sWhen decorating for the Holiday’s of course everyone wants their home to be festive and beautiful but remember to keep safety in mind. There are many house fires every year during the Holiday Season due to faulty lighting, trees too close to the fire place and candles placed too close to other decorations. A little planning and your holiday season can be festive and safe. A lot of our tips I’m sure you have already heard – but it has been a year since you’ve decorated for the Holiday’s review the list for a refresher to help keep your home and family safe.

Trees:

  • When purchasing a live tree for your home, check for freshness. A fresh tree is green, needles are hard to pull from the branches and when bent between your fingers, needles do not break. The truck butt of a fresh tree is sticky with resin, and when tapped on the ground, the tree should not loose any needles.
  • When setting up a tree at home, place it away from fireplaces, radiators or portable heaters. Place the tree out of the way of traffic and do not block doorways.
  • Cut a few inches off the truck of your free to expose the fresh wood. This allows for better water absorption and will help keep your tree from drying out and becoming a fire hazard
  • Be sure to keep the stand filled with water, heated rooms can dry the tree out
  • Remove your tree right after the holiday’s are over. Keeping the tree up means it will begin to dry out and become a fire hazard
  • Only have the lights on in your tree when you are home

Lights:

  • Check all tree lights-even if you’ve just purchased them- before hanging on your tree. Make sure all bulbs work and there are no frayed wires, broken sockets or loose connections
  • Before using lights outdoors, check labels to be sure they have been certified for outdoor use.
  • It’s a good idea to plug lights and outdoor decorations into timers that will turn on and off automatically. Lights don’t need to be on all night.

Decorations:

  • Use only non-combustible or flame-resistant materials to trim a tree.
  • Never use lighted candles on a tree or near other evergreens.
  • Keep trimmings that have small removable parts out of reach of children to prevent them from swallowing or inhaling small pieces. Avoid trimmings that resemble candy or food that may tempt a young child to eat them.

Have a happy and safe Holiday Season from All Reasons Moving!

For tips on packing up after the holidays see our blog: Packing & Storing Holiday Decorations

 

 

Moving Plants

Ficus TreeMain concerns when moving plants are: not to kill them and are you legally and logistically allowed to transport them. Plant lovers, don’t despair— you don’t necessarily have to leave precious houseplants behind! When moving plants, follow these tips to ensure their safe arrival. But first, a few caveats.
States regulate importation of plants and animals. Do your homework! You may not be allowed to bring in plants unless they have been grown indoors in sterilized potting soil. Potted outdoor plants, including fruit trees may be forbidden, even if they have been transplanted to sterilized soil. Check the U.S. Department of Agriculture website for detailed information.
Also, by law a carrier may not accept a shipment containing perishable items—plants included— except if the distance is less than 150 miles or delivery is made within 24 hours. If you know you may not legally or logistically be able to move your plants, you may be able to bring cuttings. Wrap cuttings in saturated newspaper or peat moss, then loosely in plastic. They’ll store well for several days.
For plants you plan on transporting, All Reasons Moving advises:

 

  • First take into consideration how far away you are moving. You cannot leave plants locked inside a moving van for days or weeks and expect them to survive. If moving a long distance you may want to give your plants to a friend or leave them for the new owners of your home.
  • Prune plants as much and as soon as possible. This will reduce bulk and damage to leaves and tender branches during boxing. De-bug plants by enclosing in a room with a bug bomb, or in plastic bags with bug powder. Keep isolated until the move to prevent re-contamination.
  • Use wardrobe boxes for tall plants. Book boxes work well for smaller desk plants, and medium size boxes are great for mid-size plants. Punch air holes in each box, and line the bottom with plastic. Keep box flaps taped upright for additional protection, and fill gaps around pots with newspaper. Note: Unbreakable plastic pots are lighter, but not all plants like being transplanted. Consider repotting to plastic pots before boxing if conditions warrant. If you re-pot, give plants at least two days prior to moving to recover from this procedure.
  • Water plants two days prior to moving. Don’t overwater, a hot vehicle may cause mildew or fungus; cold temperatures may freeze them.
  • Pack plants last
  • Upon arrival, unpack plants first. Cut away or unfold the bottom of the box and slide plants out, instead of hauling them out where your hands or arms could damage branches.
  • Allow plants to settle in, resting away from the unpacking bustle. Avoid direct sunlight and temperature extremes until they acclimate from travel shock. Water and feed normally.

At All Reasons Moving, we know that being surrounded by beloved, familiar plants can make a house your home. Ask us how we can help move all your precious belongings safely and intact.

Hiring a Moving Company & Insurance Requirements

Workers Compensation In California consumers may request to see evidence of workers’ compensation coverage before they engage a moving company. Consumers can be liable for any work-related injury occurring on their property to an employee of an uninsured employee of a moving company. In this situation they can find themselves with no coverage under their homeowner’s or renters liability policy.

“Persons moving in California need to make sure their movers have proper workers’ compensation insurance,” says Steve Weitekamp, President of the California Moving & Storage Association. Properly licensed moving companies with workers’ compensation coverage incur significant costs to insure their employees. This coverage protects not only the mover and their employees but also, just as important, the customer.

The California Public Utilities Commissions (CPUC), which regulates moving companies, requires as a condition of the licensure that they have on file a copy of that company’s Workers’ Compensation Certificate.

The California Moving and Storage Association (CMSA) strongly recommends verifying that the moving company you are considering is CPUC permitted and has all proper insurance these include Workers Compensation as well as Cargo and General Liability.

The Internet has many uninsured movers preying on consumers. Do not book your move with an on-line broker make sure the moving company you are considering is a “real” business. Do not allow your self to be victim and remember if the price seems too low there will be a catch somewhere along the line.

California ProMoverConsumers are urged to make an informed choice when selecting a moving/storage company. In an effort to help consumers make an informed choice the CMSA has started a program called ProMover. ProMover is the moving industry’s consumer protection and certification program designed to fight fraud by giving consumers a way to identify quality professional moving companies. Look for the ProMover Logo when shopping for a moving company.

For more information, call the CMSA consumer hotline at (800) 672-1415 or visit the website at www.thecmsa.org.

ProMover Certified

ProMoverAll Reasons Moving is proud to announce we are now a Certified ProMover. To qualify as a ProMover, movers must pass a rigorous review of business standards and past conduct and agree to abide by the AMSA (American Moving and Storage Association) and CMSA (California Moving and Storage Association) Code of Ethics. The AMSA and the CMSA are moving and storage trade associations and their members are committed to upholding a higher operating standard.

The ProMover certification was launched as a part of a consumer protection program designed to fight imposters, known within the industry as “rogue movers”. Under the requirements the standard for membership has been expanded to include a review of felony convictions of the company’s owners, officers or majority stockholders.  You must be in good standing with the BBB, PUC and other state consumer protection agencies. All consumer reporting agencies are checked out and any reports of fraud that may show up in an on-line search are checked out. A review is conducted which includes all these areas as well as the companies Web Site for proper advertising.

An easily-recognizable ProMover logo was designed that stands for a set of basic, honest business principles. You will soon begin seeing this logo on professional moving companies web sites, advertising materials and marketing materials.

Consumers moving within California should not only be choosing a mover that is a CMSA Member but also ProMover Certified.

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