7 On Your Side's tips to avoid a moving company nightmare

NEW YORK (WABC) -- 7 On Your Side has heard plenty of viewer complaints against shoddy movers who damage belongings or hold them hostage, demanding thousands more before delivery.

But, you can avoid a moving nightmare with a few easy steps:

First, start with a licensed mover. If you are moving out of state, movers must have a federal DOT license number. Both New York and New Jersey require movers to be licensed when doing in-state moves.

7 On Your Side attended a sting operation run by the Garden State's Office of Consumer Protection. Every year, they catch dozens of unlicensed operators breaking the law.



So, check the license first and second, always get references.

Another pro-tip is to get a binding estimate. This is to ensure you don't get up charged the day of the move.

Also, check out purchasing extra insurance. Remember, default insurance pays less than a dollar a pound. That means you'd only get $80 back if a $1,299.99 television was damaged. You should consider additional full value protection. It pays you a replacement value for damaged items.

And, read the bill of lading, your formal mover's contract, carefully. Make sure you understand all of the charges before signing and never sign a blank contract.

The big takeaway is to look out for red flags. Those are if your mover won't do an in-person estimate. If they insist on doing it over the phone hang up. Many companies did switch to virtual estimates during the pandemic, that's fine, but you need to walk them through every room of your house, and make sure they get a box count too.

Be leery if a mover demands cash upfront or a very large deposit. Most reputable movers only need a small deposit to hold your moving date.

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