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Consumers Should Protect Themselves to Avoid Scams by Rogue Movers

The Canadian Association of Movers (CAM) advises consumers that the most important factor to ensure you have a quality move is to use a reputable mover.

TORONTO, ONTARIO -- (Marketwire) -- 02/20/13 -- This summer, you may be one of the five million people who move each year in Canada. Don't be one who gets scammed. You will be entrusting all of your personal possessions that you have accumulated over a lifetime to a mover. Be sure to hire a professional moving company and don't have negative experience like the one that was featured on www.CBC.ca on February 13th, titled "BBB Warns Consumers About Unreliable Moving Companies." This piece detailed the problems of one customer who went to an internet "move broker" who simply put the lead out for bids and then walked away from any responsibility for the service and cost issues that the customer had to endure. The problems included an inflated price, two months late delivery, lack of response to calls and emails and total dissatisfaction with the experience.

There are many signs to help you identify these companies - they may have a poor Better Business Bureau rating; they may have a poor record with your province's ministry of consumer affairs; and they are not a member of the Canadian Association of Movers (CAM). They won't want to give you a physical address for their company so you can check out their premises and trucks. They'll only provide a cell phone number and they won't want to put their promises in writing.

Consumers need to beware of the "criminal enterprise disguised as a moving company," as described by Det. Kevin Hooper with the Toronto Police Service (CNEWS, 2010-05-20, "Cops haul in moving-scam suspects"). These con artists take no responsibility for the level of service delivered. If a mover's offer looks and sounds too good to be true, it is. Buyer Beware!

The best protection for your property is to hire a reputable mover who will provide professional moving services as agreed in the estimate. CAM can assist in finding a good mover - a mover that subscribes to CAM's code of ethics, meets CAM's business standards and commits to mediation in the unlikely event of a dispute.

Getting an accurate written estimate can help prevent any disputes during or after the move. The only way for a consumer to get an accurate quote for a move is to get an in-home estimate. Customers need to provide the mover with as much information as possible about their move, such as the nature of items to be moved, details about the origin and destination of the move, the services required, payment information and the moving dates. Make sure promises and details are in writing.

On a long distance move, the sales representative will prepare a detailed listing of all of the items to be moved. This list will help them to calculate the cost of shipping and will also identify items NOT to be shipped, plus any special requirements. The cost estimate will be based on the actual weight of the shipment and the mover's seasonally-adjusted transportation rate. This basic pricing will include loading, unloading and carriage of the goods from origin to destination.

Local moves are generally priced based on the number of hours estimated to load, transport and unload the shipment plus travel time.

The mover may apply a special offer or discount rate, such as a seniors' rate to the calculated price. Extra charges would be applicable for any additional services such as: working after-hours, moving a piano, ferry charges, packing materials, crating services and third-party or appliance services.

On a long distance move, prior to loading the furniture on the truck, the van operator will affix an inventory tag to each item to be moved and will prepare a detailed listing of those items including any pre-existing damage. If you want to have "full value replacement" coverage on your shipment there will be an extra charge for this cargo protection based on the customer's valuation of the shipment. Make sure you understand what the mover and you are liable for in case there is loss of or damage to the goods. The customer should make sure that all services and charges are explained and get all this information in writing.

Always verify claims and check out references. The best way to have confidence that your move will be successful is by utilizing the services of a reputable, professional mover - a mover who is a CAM member.

/For further information: Contact the Canadian Association of Movers, Canada's moving industry trade association. CAM helps consumers by identifying good movers and monitoring movers' performance. Consumers should contact CAM at 1-866-860-0065; visit CAM's website, www.mover.net; fax enquiry to 1-866-601-8499; email to [email protected]; mail to PO Box 30039, RPO New Westminster, Thornhill, ON, Canada L4J 0C6./

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