Complaints about moving companies on the rise

HOUSTON Hiring a moving company should not be a last minute decision. Unfortunately the bulk of the moving day problems happen because people did not give themselves enough time to get things done the right way.

Summer is the time when Texans are on the move and complaints against moving companies are rolling in.

University of Houston Law Professor Richard Alderman explained a common complaint, "They told me it would be this much, I have a contract and now they want much more money and I can't afford it."

Alderman oversees the Texas Consumer Complaint Center and says summer always brings out people who are having trouble because of a moving company.

"As soon as you think about it, it makes sense," Alderman said. "This is the time of year that kids are moving back from school, people are moving their families, people are buying houses and selling houses."

Professional movers say one of the biggest mistakes people make is waiting until the last minute to hire a moving company.

Steve Ziara with Two Men and a Truck Movers says his company gets plenty of calls from people who want to book a mover for the next day. Ziara says waiting until then opens consumers to potential problems.

"We recommend in the summer three to four weeks," he said. "The bigger the move, the longer in advance you want to schedule, having proper planning time with a company to make sure that you have all your ducks in a row, do the things you need to do."

To avoid costly mistakes, be sure to get the company's Texas DMV license number. Companies must have that to operate in the state.

Next check that number in the Texas DMV database for complaints. Check with the Better Business Bureau to see if that agency has unresolved complaints against a mover. Finally, be sure the company has local offices in case there is a problem.

"Be careful about finding companies on the internet that may not be based here," Ziara advised. "It is important to find a company that is locally-based that you can go to if there is an issue."

There is an association of movers in the Houston area that screens its members to make sure they are licensed and bonded.

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