Monday, June 27, 2005

[Knowledge] Moving day blues, how to avoid is a wonder to behold.

We will all move, or get moved, sooner or later. Death, taxes and Moving Day. This site tracks problem moving companies, notes their alliances with major Interent web search firms and with major national realty firms, and has a very active bulletin board. Scary, that stuff is.

When Mrs Clackablog and I moved from Liberty Hall in da 'Hood to Serenity, we decided not to abuse the kindness of our friends, and instead, hired Movers.

I swear, it was easier to pick a sawbones and a hospital for my major surgery than it was to pick a moving company. I finally started with the local BBB list of member companies, and cross-referenced that list with recommendations/complaints from the group pdx.general in USENET. The remaining companies were compared to a list I got from ODOT (and I'll be dipped if I can recall who in ODOT it came from), and the survivors were checked at the Multnomah County Courthouse for litigation history.

Three from the last cut were invited out to provide estimates, and we picked the middle estimate (to help eliminate the chance of a lowball bid being elevated at the last minute). The high bid moving company, just like the high bidding furnace repair company we dealt with earlier this year, seemed not-very-interested in our business.

It turned out we were very happy with our moving company, just like the furnace repair company we chose, so the pick-the-middle-bid strategy may have some virtue.

The MovingScam process includes such bon mots as:
As each moving company gives you an estimate based on what they see in your home, leave the paperwork out where the next moving company can easily see it. Ask questions about the difference in pricing since it may have to do with what services one company provides that another doesn't, the amount of insurance included, or valuation of your belongings. Never hire a mover who gives you a quote based on cubic feet. Never, ever sign blank paperwork, and know what you're signing. Read the document, understand it and don't worry about making the moving company wait.

You should know that every moving company is required by law to provide you with a "Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move" booklet. If they don't provide you with this, send them packing (so to speak).

Also, while you have the sales rep's attention, get as much information about the company that you can such as:

* Full company name and any DBA names (doing business as)
* How long they have been in business
* Company address
* Phone numbers (local and toll-free)
* DOT and MC license numbers
* Company web site address
* Email addresses
* Get references (and call them)

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