Whether you're moving to or from Vancouver or simply relocating across town, choose your mover with care. In 2012, the Better Business Bureau in the U.S. and Canada received more than 8,500 complaints about movers.
Complaints ranged from lost, stolen, or damaged possessions to late deliveries to "holding possessions hostage."
The "hostage holding" came as part of a scam in which the movers gave a low estimate, then inflated the fees after the truck was loaded and on the way. Then then refused to deliver and unload unless the homeowner paid the inflated fee (ransom).
To avoid this kind of rip-off, take some precautions.
Get recommendations – Instead of going on line or opening the phone book, get recommendations from family, friends, co-workers, and professionals you trust. I keep a list of trusted movers who have served my clients here and I'll be happy to share it.
Get detailed estimates in writing, signed by a person of authority in the company. Never accept a verbal or e-mailed estimate. Read all the fine print and know under what circumstances the mover might charge more than the estimated price.
Get multiple estimates – and don't simply choose the low bidder.
Get the goods on the mover – go on line and see what other customers have had to say. Call the Better Business Bureau to see if there have been complaints.
If there's a problem, take action. If, in spite of your efforts, a problem does occur, contact the mover immediately. Reputable movers have insurance to cover breakage – AND a reputation to maintain. They'll be eager to help resolve the problem.
And if they aren't willing, then they aren't reputable - and it's time to contact your state attorney general, your consumer protection agency, the licensing agency, and possibly the police and/or your attorney.
When you're ready to buy or sell a home in Vancouver, get in touch. It will be my pleasure to help you enjoy a smooth transaction from start to finish.