BBB warns to watch out for fake moving companies

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KHON2 (HONOLULU) — May is national moving month, and for those planning to hire someone to help, the Better Business Bureau warns to choose a trustworthy company.

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) said it has received over 1,400 complaints about moving companies across the U.S. These complaints include missing or damaged items, higher than agreed upon invoices and items being held hostage in exchange for additional payments.

“So how do you find somebody who can make that right?,” said Roseann Freitas with the BBB. “And that really goes back to always doing your homework and vetting the company. So you want to start there, make sure they are licensed in the state.”

She said people can check this on the Better Business Bureau website or on the U.S. Department of Transportation website. In Hawaii, along with a licence in the state, moving companies must be registered with the federal government and the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission.

Another thing Freitas recommends to check when researching is a company’s reviews.

“You’re looking for complaints. You want some information,” said Freitas. “Understand all businesses will have some complaints. Nobody’s perfect, but you want to see how they resolve this complaint. You want to see that back and forth, that interaction.”

She said people should keep in mind if a company does or doesn’t resolve a situation the way they want.

However, if a company offers a really cheap moving price, that may be a big red flag.

“Right now there’s a labor shortage in many industries. We know shipping prices have really gone up as well as gas prices. So finding a very discounted price right now is not realistic.”

Roseann Freitas, Better Business Bureau

Other red flags include if the moving truck or workers don’t have any company branding that indicate which company they are with, if the company only accepts payment in cash and if they don’t give a written contract.

“(Companies) will ask for a small deposit that makes sense, but if they ask you to pay a large deposit, and in cash, (that’s) a big red flag,” said Freitas.

If a person believe he or she has been scammed, Freitas recommends calling the police and reporting this to the Federal Trade Commission and the Better Business Bureau.

“The best thing to do is to do that homework upfront so you don’t have to figure it out on the back end,” said Freitas.

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