Unfortunately many people don’t understand the difference between actual moving companies and moving brokers. Moving brokers are not actual movers, they do not own moving trucks, or moving staff. They simply connect customers with moving companies. They are middlemen with teams of sales people that collect money upfront and then pass the information on to companies that will actually perform the move.
There are companies out there that purposefully brand themselves to appear as long distance moving companies. Customers contact them thinking that they are communicating with the actual company that will perform their move not knowing that the company has no intention of handling the move.
These companies will ask a series of questions about the contents of the move and then provide a quote which is usually significantly less than any of the other quotes that the customer has received. This technique is referred to as bait and switch and is used to get their foot in the door with the customer. The company will usually then request a deposit which can range from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. This deposit is usually the moving brokers profit.
From there the moving broker will identify a moving company that will agree to move the items. The long distance moving company that agrees to handle the move usually has to increase the price in order to make the move profitable for them.
When this occurs the customer is losing on multiple fronts. First of all the deposit that was paid is not even going towards the move, it is wasted money that actually could have been used to pay the moving company handling the long distance move. The customer also loses because they believe that their items will be delivered for one price only to find out that the price has been doubled or even tripled in some cases.
Don’t get me wrong there are some reputable moving brokers out there and its important to know what to look for when dealing with them.
- Moving brokers must be registered with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and they are required to use only moving companies that are also registered with the FMCSA.
- Moving brokers are required to have a written agreement with the moving companies they work with, and to also give you, upon request, a full list of those movers.
- Brokers must provide you with a copy of the booklet Your rights and Responsibilities When You Move and the brochure Ready to Move, both prepared by the FMCSA.
- Brokers are required by law to base their estimates, binding or non-binding, on the specific tariff of the moving company that will do the actual transportation of your household goods.
As with any moving company, the key is researching the company. Do they have legitimate reviews online? Are they listed with the Better Business Bureau? Many people don’t take the time to look up this information only to regret it in the long run.
Don’t be one of those people.