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Illinois Consumers Urged to Be Careful When Choosing a Mover

Organizations Give Tips for Protecting Possessions during National Moving Month

May 14, 2013

CHICAGO, Ill. -- Public- and private-sector officials, noting that Chicago ranked third among U.S. cities for complaints about household goods movers last year, today urged Illinois consumers to always be sure to hire a licenced, legitimate mover as the busy annual moving season nears. 

Representatives from the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC), the Illinois Movers and Warehousemen’s Association (IMWA), the American Moving & Storage Association (AMSA), and the Better Business Bureau intend that the guidance, with better education and enforcement programs, will further put the brakes on moving scams.  In Illinois, such efforts have meant the number of consumer complaints has been dropping in recent years.

May is National Moving Month, and the organizations urged consumers to be smart, as the busy season for relocations runs through September. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has just issued an updated version of Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move, a booklet all interstate movers are required to provide to consumers with an estimate.

“Many consumers get moving referrals from friends, family, neighbors and corporate relocation experts. Others turn to the Internet. Uninsured and unlicensed means unprofessional and these types of movers are common online," said Doug Scott, chairman of the Illinois Commerce Commission.  "They turn up the heat during the busy summer moving season by offering prices too good to be true. We urge consumers to be smart and to protect their families and their possessions. We are here to help and to make moving to, or within, Illinois a great experience.”

More than 15,000 people are employed in the moving industry in Illinois alone, generating $1.45 billion in annual revenue from 250,000 shipments.

“When selecting a mover for your family and your possessions, buyers beware," added Maureen Beal, CEO and chairman of Chicago-based National Van Lines and an AMSA board member.  "There are 1.5 million U.S. searches each month on Google for the term ‘movers,’ and 3.5 million searches globally. Our research from more than 80 years in business shows that miscommunication about price, schedule and expectations is the number one consumer complaint.  National Van Lines manages 15,000 interstate moves each year. For best results, consumers should always choose a licensed, insured and professional mover with a proven track record.”

The organizations offered seven smart off- and online tips for avoiding scams:

Research licensed and insured companies; don’t trust websites alone. For interstate moves, look for a certified ProMover, who will be an AMSA member. For moves within the state, use a member of the Illinois Movers’ and Warehousemen’s Association.

• In Illinois, check the firm’s operating authority at www.icc.illinois.gov to confirm the license number in all marketing materials, including websites and social media.  Every interstate (between states) moving company must be licensed by the U.S. Department of Transportation and have a motor carrier (MC) number issued by FMCSA, also displayed online and in marketing materials. Verify the MC number at the FMCSA database or www.moving.org.

Look for “bricks and mortar.” Professional movers proudly post a street address and phone number. Do a Google Maps search to confirm the address and facility exist.

Get at least three written in-home estimates. Only use estimates by a professional mover who visits your home; never hire a mover based on a phone estimate.

Avoid companies that require large deposits or down payments. Interstate movers cannot require payment before a move. Once your possessions are in a truck but the move paid for, all leverage is lost.

Check references. Use companies that legitimately display the IMWA and/or ProMover logo; and the Better Business Bureau logo.

Avoid Internet brokers.  To avoid endless solicitations, don't enter your contact information (including phone number), on websites that promise to find qualified movers unless you create a new e-mail address to be used only for the move.


Illinois Movers’ & Warehousemen’s Association: Patricia McLaughlin  (217) 585-2470    psmith@imawa.com
Chicago and Northern Illinois Better Business Bureau:  Tom Joyce (312) 245-2643   tjoyce@chicago.bbb.org
Illinois Commerce Commission:  Beth Bosch  (217) 782-5793   bbosch@icc.illinois.gov
National Van Lines:  Kellee Johnson (312) 751-3959   kjohnson@ballastgroup.com
American Moving & Storage Association:  John Bisney (703) 706-4986  jbisney@moving.org