The U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) today announced the launch of its new moving fraud prevention campaign to inform consumers about how to spot the "red flags" of fraudulent or dishonest movers.
The "Protect Your Move" campaign (www.protectyourmove.gov) seeks to give the nearly 35 million Americans who move each year the information they need to protect themselves from unlawful movers.
"Moving is an exciting, but hectic time -- the last thing families should have to worry about is whether or not their personal belongings will arrive at their new house," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. "By showing consumers how to look out for red flags before they move, we are arming them with information they can use to protect themselves, their move and their memories."
FMCSA has produced a new public service announcement warning consumers of the "red flags" they can spot prior to a move. By visiting www.protectyourmove.gov, consumers can view the video, and find tools and resources to help them before, during and after a move. Resources include a moving fraud prevention checklist, a moving broker checklist and tips for a successful move. Consumers can also search a company's complaint history and compare safety records of companies nationally.
"Consumers need to know how to spot the bad movers and feel confident they are selecting a reliable, safe, and responsible moving company," said FMCSA Administrator Anne S. Ferro. "While the majority of movers are reputable, consumers need to be aware of how to avoid those who are not."
More than 5,800 household goods moving companies are registered with FMCSA. In 2012, FMCSA received over 3,100 consumer complaints about household goods movers, up from 2,851 in 2011. Among the most common complaints are shipments being held hostage; loss, damage or delay of shipments; unauthorized movers; and deceptive practices, such as overcharges.
Nationwide, the top ten cities with the greatest number of consumer complaints in 2012 were Los Angeles, New York, Houston, Chicago, Seattle, Atlanta, Austin, Orlando, San Antonio and San Diego.
Some of the most common "red flags" of fraudulent or dishonest moving companies include:
Not providing an in-home estimate,
Asking customers to sign incomplete documentation, and
A company failing to register with FMCSA.
Consumers can report unsafe and poor performing moving companies by calling FMCSA's nationwide complaint hotline at 1-888-368-7238 (1-888 DOT-SAFT) or by visiting www.protectyourmove.gov.