We have all heard of moving “horror” stories or perhaps you are someone who had the misfortune of experiencing it first-hand. Although there are many excellent movers across the country, the fact remains that moving scams do exist. If there is going to be a problem, the starting point for the consumer will always begin with the moving estimate. Many times, the only item the customer will see is the price at the bottom of the page and totally miss the “fine print.” The first step in preventing a major “surprise” at the final destination of your move, is to fully understand what each “estimate” means for you, the consumer. The three types of estimates are:
- NON – BINDING ESTIMATE:
In this “estimate” you are given an estimated figure of your total weight based on a set price per pound. Depending on the “actual” weight, your final bill could be higher OR lower than the original estimate. The odd of this estimate working in your favor is next to none. Many times the salesperson will tell you that they purposely figured your weight higher for this estimate, so there is “no way” your final bill will cost more! This normally backfires for the consumer, even if the salesperson was being totally honest. Remember, this is an “estimate.” Even seasoned estimators can and do “miss” the weight. Furthermore, if the estimated weight does “go over,” the moving company can ONLY collect 110% of the original amount shown on the estimate. So, if the price shown is $5405.95, then the maximum you could end up paying at destination could ONLY be $5946.54 (110% of $5405.95). This type of “estimate,” in my opinion, does not provide the “peace of mind” you would want during a relocation process. Never accept a non-binding moving estimate.
- BINDING ESTIMATE:
This “estimate” can actually be very misleading to the customer. Sometimes referred to as a “fixed price” estimate, it gives the impression that you will only be charged for the amount shown on the estimate, and not a penny more. This sounds like a “guaranteed price,” doesn’t it? This is perhaps the main estimate that customers fall for, believing that the “binding” price is “guaranteed.” However, when providing this estimate, the mover will nearly always fail to mention that the driver who will be loading your shipment HAS THE RIGHT to “challenge” the estimate, if he feels that the weight has gone over! Thus, this is where the “binding estimate” can come back and bite you! The driver must “challenge” the moving estimate BEFORE he begins loading. Most often, drivers will not “challenge” several hundred pounds or even a few thousand pounds. However, if the driver feels that the weight shown on the “binding estimate” is much lower than the actual weight he will be loading, he can legally “challenge” the estimate, and the salesperson will have to come back out to your residence and renegotiate the price with you. Therefore, your original “binding” price meant absolutely nothing! Never accept a binding estimate.
- BINDING – NOT TO EXCEED ESTIMATE
This estimate is exactly what it proposes to be: a “not to exceed” price. The price shown on the estimate is exactly what you will be charged unless your weight is lower than what is shown on the estimate. If it is lower, then you will pay LESS! This moving estimate guarantees that your ending cost can only go DOWN and not UP! The only way of knowing what your TRUE weight is, is to be present when the driver weighs the truck. You must be there when he weighs the truck ‘EMPTY’ and when he weighs the truck ‘LOADED.’ Many customers do not want to be inconvenienced by this, but remember . . . do not trust the moving company with your empty and loaded scale. Make the effort to go down to the scale and witness the “weighing” yourself, both empty and once it has been loaded.
Forty million people move every year in the United States. There are simple, easy steps you can take that will assure your move, either local or cross country, will go efficiently and greatly reduce your chances of having a major claim. The FIRST STEP is choosing the right “estimate.” Always choose the “Binding – NOT TO EXCEED.”
About the Author:
Aubrey Allen Smith is the author of the Truth About Trucking and “How to Guarantee a “Perfect” Move.” Having started in the moving business in 1969 at the age of ten, he is an expert in the field of transportation. He shares his “insider secrets” and moving tips that only a moving veteran would know. Please visit www.guaranteemove.com to see how you can guarantee a “perfect” move.
© 2007 – 2008, Allen Smith. All rights reserved.