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BBB suggestions can ease stress of moving

The Better Business Bureau offers tips during May as "National Moving Month." (RECORD PHOTO / GREGG PARKER)
The Better Business Bureau offers tips during May as “National Moving Month.” (RECORD PHOTO / GREGG PARKER)

MADISON – The Better Business Bureau (BBB) of North Alabama knows that a move can be an exciting venture or a journey into misery.

To plan for a smooth move, the BBB has suggestions, which coincide with May as “National Moving Month.”

“May kicks off the busiest time of year for Americans changing residencies,” BBB President/CEO Michele Mason said. “It also means unlicensed movers and dishonest scammers could be waiting to take advantage of unwary consumers.”

In 2012, BBBs in the United States and Canada received more than 1.4 million inquiries and 9,300 complaints against movers, such as damaged or missing items, price increases over estimates, late deliveries and goods ‘held hostage’ for disputed payments.

BBB has partnered with the American Moving & Storage Association to provide important tips on avoiding bad experiences and moving-related scams:

* Research the moving company thoroughly. Interstate movers must, at minimum, be licensed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Mason said.

* Get at least three written, in-home estimates. Not all online price quotes or estimates by phone are legitimate. “The lowest estimate can sometimes be an unrealistic, low-ball offer,” Mason said. “It’s best to have a company representative come to your home and submit a quote based on the amount of items that need to be moved.”

* Know your rights. The BBB or local law enforcement can help if the mover is holding personal belongings in a payment dispute.

* Consider accepting full-value protection, which provides a cash settlement for repairs or current market value, regardless of age, for lost or damaged articles. “It may cost a few dollars more up front, but it can provide some peace of mind and eliminate headaches after your move,” Mason said.

BBB’s address is 210 Exchange Place, Suite A in Huntsville. For more information, call 256-533-1640 or visit northalabama.bbb.org or moving.org.

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