How to avoid scams and save money when you move homes

Published: Jan. 18, 2022 at 11:51 AM EST
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Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis is partnering with the Florida Trucking Association to raise awareness about moving broker scams and movers.

Moving brokers arrange a move and then sell the agreement to a moving company.

In some cases items are being held hostage by a moving company, until new fees are paid because a broker sold the agreement without notifying the customer.

There have also been instances where a broker can't or won't sell the move to a moving company, leaving the customer without service on moving day.

When you're selecting a moving company you may have to quickly become an expert at the terminology, the costs and how to get things ready for an estimate.

There are do's and dont's that could mean a big difference in price.

Melisa Cassell of Daley and Wanzer Moving and Storage in West Palm Beach describes moving as one of the most stressful things in life.

"They say it's up there, the most stressful things in life are moving, divorce and death," said Cassell.

Cassell shared her insider advice to make your next move smoother.

"Have the mover come out to your home to take a look at what you have," said Cassell, for starters. "Everybody's things are different."

The Watters family wishes their first experience using a moving company for their Connecticut-to-North Carolina journey was different.

"There was no-shows. There was fighting between the movers. They were showing up at midnight and then there was increasing the price exponentially at the end," said Anthony Watters.

At the end of last year, the Watters booked their move with U.S. Interstate Van Lines in West Palm Beach.

Their estimated moving cost went up by thousands on the actual moving day.

"I ended up after talking to the moving companies a few times and I had a panic attack," said Courtney Watters.

U.S. Interstate Moving Lines called the Watters case a "rare instance."

An operations manager told WPTV the Watters had extra things, like a mirror, that needed to be packed up.

The company is working with the family toward a refund.

Cassell said the more information movers have, the better estimate they can give.

A small piece of furniture might be fragile and require special packaging that could raise the price.

If the person moving plans to pack some things but doesn’t could change the estimated cost.

"Some people get overwhelmed you might get to the end and think, 'Geez, I thought I was going to get all this done,' and you didn't get a chance to do it," said Cassell.

Cassell said plan to have movers arrive three to four days before you have to be out of the home.

Finally, check out the company you're using online with the Florida Division of Corporations, a state register of the complete history of the business.

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