smart spending

How to find a reputable moving company

Avoid getting ripped off by a moving company
Avoid getting ripped off by a moving company © Andy Dean Photography/Shutterstock.com

Americans are on the go. Some 37 million-plus Americans move every year, reports the Better Business Bureau, or BBB.

Moving to greener pastures is a major event, whether you're headed across town or across the country. But it can be pricey; the average move across state lines currently runs about $5,600.

Want to trim those fees? That's understandable. But fixating on price alone may wind up costing you a bundle. Just ask Rusty Buchanan. When he moved to Los Angeles, he wound up spending nearly $90,000 in legal fees to recover his belongings from a rogue mover who held his property hostage for 18 months.

"It was a total, complete con," Buchanan says.

Buchanan's move turned out to be a nightmare partly because the person who drove off with his possessions didn't work for the moving company that Buchanan thought he was doing business with. He was a subcontractor.

Buchanan is not alone. Last year, the Better Business Bureau fielded about 9,300 complaints against movers. And the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, or FMCSA, cites the most common consumer complaints against household goods movers as shipments held hostage, loss, damage, delays, unauthorized movers and overcharging or other deceptive practices.

You can avoid moving rip-offs with a little due diligence, simple tips and new tools that make it easier than ever to move smart.

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