Summer is peak moving season.
And while most movers are honest, the Better Business Bureau receives more than 10,000 complaints a year about moves gone bad.
One woman shared her nightmare in hopes it won't happen to the rest of us.
Thought Move Was All Set
Sonja Cook was emptying the dishwasher at her apartment for the last time, and getting ready for a cross-country move.
But it turned out she had a lot more to do than empty out dishes.
"They were supposed to come in and wrap my stuff up and take it out to the truck," she explained.
But the moving company she hired was nowhere in sight -- because of what she believes was a last-minute trick to make more money.
"This past Wednesday at 11 p.m., someone calls me from the moving company and says, 'We don't have space on your truck, we are going to have to (change) your move date,'" she said.
Cook was stunned. She had already paid a $600 deposit toward her $1,800 move -- And her landlord needed her out that Saturday, the day she had booked the movers.
She said she explained her predicament to the moving company, but said the company demanded even more.
"They then said, 'We can get you another truck, but its going to cost you more money,'" she said.
So instead, Cook scrambled to round up friends and a U-Haul for a D-I-Y move.
She contacted her credit card company and filed a dispute, which is the correct thing to do anytime you have a problem with a service provider where you have used a credit card.
We contacted the movers as well, and they ultimately agreed to refund her deposit.
Don't Let This Happen To You
The BBB says last-minute price price hikes, sometimes with your furniture held hostage, are common.
To avoid this, the BBB says:
- Research the movers for complaints, at BBB.org and on Google.
- Don't agree to a phone estimate: They should see your belongings in person, as no mover can make an accurate assessment based on just a description.
- Make sure the contract includes a "maximum" price that they cannot exceed. This prevents them from doubling the price because you had too much clothing, your bed was too heavy, etc.
Finally the BBB says make sure your valuables are insured against loss or breakage, even if you have to pay extra for that.
That way, you are covered in the event of the worst, and you don't waste your money.