The month of May is the busiest time of year for families moving into a new home. During National Moving Month, reputable moving companies like JTMelia Moving & Storage make it a mission to offer their clients a safe, reliable option for moving. Texas is home to a large number of unlicensed movers looking to scam unsuspecting families, which is why Texas ranks sixth in the nation in number of complaints filed against movers. Fortunately, this number has been cut by nearly 40 percent in the last few years, mostly due to the efforts of reputable companies educating families about the industry.
It takes a concerted effort to make this industry more transparent, which is why The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), Better Business Bureau (BBB), Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (TXDMV) and the Southwest Movers Association (SMA) have teamed up with moving companies across the state to help reduce scams and fraud. JTMelia is among these companies dedicated to improving the relationship between homeowners and moving services.
When a family moves to or from Texas, everything they’ve worked for is often loaded on a single truck. All of the family’s possessions, all of their mementos, all of life’s necessities are placed in the hands of a single company. If that company is not trustworthy, everything may be lost. For this reason, it is extremely important that homeowners take the time to check out a service before handing over anything. Already in 2014, more than 2,500 complaints regarding Texas movers have been placed with the BBB, but homeowners can avoid this by following a few simple guidelines:
- All moving companies can be vetted online at several sites. This includes the TxDMV’s site, the FMCSA’s site and the BBB’s online resources. The TxDMV can verify that a company is licensed in Texas, while the FMCSA can thoroughly check a service’s credentials, including their licensing status, their certifications, the insurance they carry, and any citations received recently. The BBB keeps track of complaints filed against the company, so if a service has poor customer service or shady pricing methods, the BBB will know about it.
- Make sure that the company provides you with a written estimate that shows a guaranteed flat price or “not to exceed” price. The company must also provide a signed contract, a brochure that details the consumer’s rights while moving, and at least 60 cents of liability insurance per pound per item.
- Never choose an unlicensed moving service to handle a move. Licensing ensures a company abides by ethical standards in the industry.
- Always insist on receiving all estimates in writing. Never accept a verbal estimate, and opt for estimates based on weight (and not volume) whenever possible.
- Make sure to read the entire contract before committing to it. Check the fine print.
- On the day of the move, if a truck shows up without the company’s branding and without a TxDMV or USDOT number on it, do not allow the company to load your items. This is a sign that the company may be attempting a scam.
By following these guidelines, a homeowner can choose their moving company with confidence and quickly settle into their new home.