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The mover had a variety of entirely bogus reasons for hanging onto our stuff while trying to exceed the written, “not to exceed” estimate. Among the excuses: We didn’t tell him there were steps at the new house (there were two) or it was at the fringes of Los Angeles (we’re actually quite close to the geographic center of the city).
At the time, I didn’t know that reputable movers were being bought up by bad guys who pulled these stunts, or that moving in many areas is so lightly regulated that they can get away with this crap.
If you’ve got a move planned this summer, take the time to check out Consumer Report’s tips for avoiding scams.
One of the best tips I know isn’t included: Ask your employer, or another major company in the area, which companies they use to move their executives. These movers won’t be the cheapest, but since they rely on repeat business, they’re far less likely to be scamsters.
In the end, I paid a couple hundred dollars more than we agreed to ransom our stuff–much less than the $1,000 or so the mover demanded, but still too much. If we ever have to move again, I’ll be a lot more diligent in choosing a mover.