Hiring Unlicensed Movers: Why You Shouldn’t Do It

If you’re looking for help with your upcoming move, you might have been shopping around for the most affordable moving services. During your search, you might have thought about hiring unlicensed movers. This can be tempting because it can often be a lot cheaper; plus, you might be thinking that you can help someone out who really needs the business and the money. However, it’s pretty much never a good idea to hire movers who aren’t licensed. These are a few reasons why. [Read more…]

Avoid Unlicensed Moving Companies

There are several sites that people often turn to when looking for one service or another. When it comes to moving companies there are numerous listed on sites like Yelp and Craigslist. The problem with these sites is that you never know what you are actually going to get. Anyone can list on these sites and many are not licensed. It is definitely in your best interests to avoid unlicensed moving companies.

When you deal with unlicensed moving companies, it means you are working with a business that is not monitored or regulated by the government. This should be a huge red flag because if they decide to take all of your belongings or take your money and never perform, you may just be out of luck. The regulating agencies will have no information on the unlicensed mover that took your money or your stuff, so they will not be able to provide much assistance.

Hiring a professional and licensed moving company may cost more than hiring an unlicensed moving company but there are many benefits to paying the higher cost. First, you will be dealing with a company that is accountable to state and local regulatory agencies. If something goes wrong, you have several options for resolving your dispute. You will also be dealing with a company that has proper insurance. Unlicensed moving companies will not be insured and this means that you could be liable if they are injured or cause property damage.

Do your research before hiring a moving company. Check out what other people are saying about them. Inquire about whether they are licensed or not and if they say they are, verify that with the California Public Utilities Commission.

All Reasons Moving & Storage is a licensed and fully insured professional moving service. We have many years of experience moving homes and offices of all sizes. We have worked hard to earn our reputation as a trustworthy moving company. Call us today for more information on our services.

Top 20 Moving Companies: Are They Legit?

While researching for a presentation, I looked up the Top 20 Moving Companies listed on Yelp. I started checking out their websites and whether they were licensed or not. What I discovered may surprise some of you. Out of the top 20 moving companies listed on Yelp, 45% are unlicensed and two are Brokers.

Unfortunately, too many consumers think that if a moving company is listed on Yelp the company is legitimate and licensed, however, this is not the case even with the top 20 moving companies. Yelp does not check to make sure any company is is licensed, operating legally, is insured, or other industry related requirements.

I didn’t go through and check other industries on Yelp but if this is the case with the top 20 moving companies,  I’m confident you will find the same issue if you search for general contractors, plumbers, and other service industries. This is scary because so many people rely on Yelp to make buying decisions.

Yelp and other online review sites are good to check and can be an excellent resource, but you should not rely solely on that when making a decision. As a consumer, you should check out other sources to make sure the top 20 moving companies you are choosing from are licensed and insured. In this case, checking out the top 20 moving companies operating in California, listed on Yelp, is pretty easy.  Follow the steps below and it could save you a lot of heartache and cash.

Start by going to the Public Utilities Commission website. Next, click on “List of Companies” and from there click on “Moving Company (MTR).” Enter the name of the company. If more than one is found you will have to figure out which one is the one you are looking for, usually based on address. Check to see if their permit is active and if their insurance is valid. It is important to keep in mind that there are different companies with the same name within California.You are able to narrow your search to counties.

A broker is a middleman between the person who is moving and the moving company. Brokers are not actual movers and don’t own trucks or equipment. They are essentially salespeople selling the move to any company willing to pay them. This is NOT who you want to book your move through. Doing this means you will have no control over who the company is that shows up at your home. You won’t even know whether they are licensed and insured. This is a potential recipe for disaster. You really want to hire a brick and mortar business.

Whatever you do, always remember “you get what you pay for.” So do not choose a from the top 20 moving companies simply based on price. In the end, what you thought was a bargain may turn out to be more expensive than you ever imaged.  

Established in 1991 by Kim Tucker, All Reasons Moving & Storage offers both Office and Residential (Home & Apartment) moving storage services. Recognized as a leader in the moving & storage industry, we are proud to belong to the exclusive club of California businesses owned and operated by women. Call All Reasons Moving at 408-240-0244 for a no-cost, no-obligation estimate for all your moving needs.

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.

Are My Items Insured During a Move?

On the day of your move you will be ask to select the level of protection you want assigned to your belongings.

The coverage specifically provides protection for your goods that are being moved while they are being handled and transported from origin to destination. Moving valuation does not cover any damages that occur before or after the handling and transportation or while in storage. Moving valuation is only good for one move and may not be extended to cover additional moves by the same carrier.

There are three types of valuation options.

CARRIER’S LIABILITY PROTECTION: Automatically included in the moving rate is basic coverage. Basic coverage at sixty cents per pound per article ensures recovery at $0.60 multiplied by the weight of the item. There is no additional cost associated with this option.

ACTUAL CASH VALUE: This valuation ensures recovery at the depreciated amount of the item. There option is available at an additional cost.

FULL VALUE PROTECTION: This option ensures recovery at the full value of your item. Replacement or repair of the item whichever is less. There option is available at an additional cost. Not all Moving Companies offer this level of protection.

For detailed information and Limitations on the Carrier’s Liability refer to the “Important Information for Persons Moving Household Goods” booklet that the moving company you choose will provide to you.

For more information or to schedule an in home estimate contact:
All Reasons Moving & Storage

Moving Companies Internet Scams

Make sure the company is a legitimate company with a physical address.

We received a phone call from a Law Enforcement Agency in Las Vegas telling us a Moving Company was operating illegally and using our License Number. They gave us the company’s name and web address so we looked it up only to find that not only were they using our License number but they had copied our entire web site including pictures of our employees and put their name on the top.  This particular company came to the attention of Law Enforcement Agencies because they are ripping people off. Do not allow yourself to become a victim of one of these companies.

When choosing a Moving Company take the following precautions:
–    Make sure the company has a physical address NOT a P.O. Box and
NO ADDRESS at all should mean NO Business!
–    Their license number should be listed their site. Verify the number is valid and the name on the license matches the name on the web site. In California it looks like CalT-XXXXXX. Log on to the PUC web site to verify the number. (ICC number is an interstate number that can also be verified).
–    Request a certificate of insurance. The certificate will have a company name and policy number. Call the insurance company and verify the policy is valid. Companies have been known to forge these certificates.
–    Google the company name, what comes up? Check out sites such as Yelp, Merchant Circle and BBB. If they are a legitimate company that has been around for a while they should pop up in a search.

The company that stole our web site and License Number was Coaches On The Go.
Their web site has been shut down and the authorities are still on the lookout for them in California, Texas and Florida.  I’m sure they have changed their name and moved on to their next con.

Do not allow become to be a victim of one of these fly by night rogue or bandit moving companies. Take the time to check things out. The internet can be a great resource use it.

For more information check out CMSA’s article “Avoid Bandit Movers” bandit movers


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