BOSTON (CBS) — Dented walls and scratched floors are only part of the story of Debbie and Paul Tabbi’s move. “It was a nightmare,” Debbie said.
The couple hired Gentle Movers of Boston to move into their newly built Middleton home. “They said they didn’t have to come out to see the house. I told them how much stuff we had and that we would need a 40 foot truck,” Debbi explained.
But on moving day, the Tabbi’s say the company sent a 20-foot truck which was too small to carry all of their furniture so they had to call in a second truck and a second crew. “It raised the cost a little bit over $1,000.”
The Massachusetts Attorney General’s office has received a number of complaints about moving companies raising prices in the middle of a move. But according to Jillian Bukhenik of the Massachusetts Movers Association it should never happen. “Nothing about your actual move should change in pricing. That should be written in your contract,” she said.
The Tabbi’s thought they had signed a contract but didn’t realize it wasn’t an official ‘bill of lading’, as they are called in the industry, until they called their credit card company to dispute the charges. “It actually wasn’t a contract; it was a quote,” Debbie said.
LeAnn Swinton says she also ended up paying double when she called Majestic movers in Quincy for her move to a farm in Arkansas. She says the truck couldn’t make it up the hill to her new home and they had to load the furniture into a trailer. But all of those headaches were not even the worst part of her move. “They lost an urn of my father’s ashes,” she said.
The Massachusetts Movers Association says there are a number of steps you can take to protect yourself before you hire a mover, one of the most important is to make sure the company is licensed.
For an out-of-state move you can search here with the company at the Federal Highway Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
“If I had done that, I would have seen that these people have 11 complaints against them already this year,” LeAnn explained. She also would have discovered the moving company was not authorized to act as a mover at the time of her move.
The State Department of Public Utilities oversees the movers in Massachusetts. You can search here, but the search engine doesn’t work well. You have to search each Boston neighborhood individually to find companies. Even when we did that, we still couldn’t find Gentle Movers even though the state told us they were licensed. A spokesperson for DPU told us they are working to improve the system and consumers can call them on the phone to check a license or see if there are any complaints against the company.
We reached out several times to both companies for comment. They never returned our calls.