Spring is in full swing, and summer’s just around the corner. As temperatures rise in California, so do home sales, and that means people start thinking about moving.
May is National Moving Month, and the California Department of Consumer Affairs’ Bureau of Household Goods and Services (BHGS), regulator of the home moving and storage industry in California, wants to help you to make informed choices when looking for a moving company.
According to BHGS chief Nicholas Oliver, “With a little work on the front end, consumers can take steps to ensure that their move will go smoothly. Many of the moves that turn into nightmares do so because the mover isn’t licensed, so we encourage consumers to make sure, first and foremost, that the company they’re working with is licensed, and consumers can check the license at BHGS’s website.”
Consumers should also be on the lookout for predatory moving companies that are out to make a fast buck. BHGS recommends you watch out for these red flags.
- The mover doesn’t visually inspect your goods before giving an estimate
- The mover does not provide a written estimate or says they will determine the charges after loading
- The mover demands cash or a large deposit before the move
- The mover asks you to sign a blank or incomplete contract
- When you call the mover, the phone is answered with a generic “Movers” or “Moving Company” rather than the company’s name
- The mover’s offices and warehouse are in poor condition or nonexistent
- On moving day, a rental truck arrives rather than a company-owned or marked fleet truck
BHGS can also advise you on how to prepare for a move, and the documents that the mover must provide to you before you move. These documents contain important information such as the “not to exceed” price, which is the maximum you can be charged unless you request additional services, and your rights if a dispute arises.
If you have a dispute with a moving company, BHGS can help. You can file a complaint against a moving company by calling (916) 999-2041, or by writing to:
Bureau of Household Goods and Services
4244 South Market Court, Suite D
Sacramento, CA 95834
You can also file a complaint by clicking on the “Consumers” tab on BHGS’s website, https://bhgs.dca.ca.gov.