Van Lines

Written by Tara Peris
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Van lines are one of the most reliable options when it comes to moving your business or home. The moving industry is filled with fraudulent companies, and lax federal policies make it increasingly difficult to regulate their practices. The only way to insure a hassle-free move is to go with a van lines company you can trust, and this requires considerable research and patience.

Avoid Moving Fraud
Accounts of miserable moving experiences abound. Unfortunately, the moving industry is very poorly regulated, and current policies favor businesses over consumers; companies can set and change prices completely at their own discretion, frequently leaving customers at the mercy of their movers. Thus, there is little accountability and ample opportunity for gypsy companies to flourish at the expense of unsuspecting customers.

Although tales of fraud have probably been attached to just about every moving company ever operated, there are some simple ways to set yourself up for success when you move. The first and most important rule is to do your homework, and to find a company with a solid reputation. There is no guaranteed way to avoid a rip-off, but by arming yourself with information on the company you choose, you can reduce the likelihood of such an occurrence.

Use Well-Established Van Lines to Ensure the Best Possible Move
A moving company should be able to tell you exactly which services they provide, and what is included as part of your contract. This may seem fairly straightforward, but there are countless ways to be duped. For example, do they charge by weight or cubic feet? How will you verify the actual weight of your belongings? Will they load and unload the truck or does that cost extra?

It is imperative that you get a comprehensive account of what is included in your estimate and get as much in writing as possible. Does your estimate include insurance for your belongings? What about fuel and toll charges? What are additional charges that one might expect? Each of these issues requires careful consideration and explicit discussion with your salesperson.

One of the best ways to avoid unexpected costs is to get a binding estimate. Typically, this requires that a sales associate conduct a site visit to your home or business and make an estimate based on visual inspection. This way, he or she can account for stairs, elevators, difficult street access, and others factors likely to affect the cost of your relocation.

Many small companies are unable to provide on-site estimates, and this can be a significant liability. What if you complete an online inventory that says you have 50 boxes to load and they envision 1.5 cubic feet per box while you envision 6 feet per box? A significant source of scamming comes from companies indicating that a customer has more than he or she originally indicated.

Well-established van lines companies typically have the resources necessary to conduct on-site evaluations and to provide you with a detailed account of their moving practices. By checking with the Better Business Bureau and the Federal Moving and Transportation Agency, you can also get a sense of their record and reputation. A thorough background check coupled with a proper estimate is your best bet for a safe, hassle-free move.


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