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Can Moving Brokers Really Honor Those Lowball Estimates?

Moving brokers are middlemen, plain and simple. First, they give you a cost-of-moving estimate. Then, they search for a moving company to do the job.

Sounds straightforward, right? Well, think again. One important element is absent from that business model: accountability.

A moving broker has no trailers in his parking lot like your best-rated moving companies for long distance movers, such as Affordable Moving Service & Storage. He doesn’t visit your home during the estimating process, either, like an actual home mover.

The biggest mistake individuals probably make is erroneously believing the broker has more oversight regarding the move than he does. In fact, a broker holds virtually no accountability over the physical moving process itself as would a genuine mover in Venice FL or mover in Sarasota FL.

When all is said and done, the process eventually comes down to just two parties: the movers and the moved. The broker isn’t a concerned party to possible disputes, for example.

Guidelines developed by the American Moving & Storage Association (the pro moving industry’s national trade association) are skeptical of the frequent broker method of offering phone-only estimates. “If a mover insists that he can provide a ‘final’ estimate over the phone without ever seeing your home and your furniture—choose another mover,” AMSA officials say.

Instead, a quality-based estimate should include either an in-home survey, a virtual survey (via a phone app providing a virtual tour of your home), or an extensive Q&A in which the surveyor creates a shipping list you review and approve.

Also keep in mind a broker frequently either will demand cash up-front or a 50% down payment prior to loading your items on a moving truck. We at Affordable Moving Service & Storage recommend payment 24 hours prior to unloading your items. This allows enough time to inform your bank a substantial transaction will occur and to accept the payment as valid.

Broker regulations

Federal officials thought the broker practice important enough to issue guidelines governing the practice that have been law since 2011. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s “Brokers of Household Goods Transportation by Motor Vehicle” rule requires brokers provide:

• U.S. Department of Transportation number on ads and websites

• estimates of expected moving charges and brokerage fees

• FMCSA pamphlets containing tips for successful moves and the consumer’s rights and responsibilities

• the broker’s deposit, cancellation and refund policies

FMCSA insists it monitors broker websites to determine whether they’re providing “misleading information.” The agency states it also conducts compliance reviews and initiates enforcement action when appropriate.

“An interstate household goods moving broker is not a moving company and is not held to the same legal standards as a moving company,” states Michael Garcia, a San Diego-based attorney specializing in transportation law. “Generally interstate brokers of household goods are not liable for the acts or omissions of the motor carrier.”

Meet your mover

As one of the most highly respected national moving companies in Florida and an agent for the national relocation van line, National Van Lines, we at Affordable Moving Service & Storage are responsible for the whole process. Plus, our accountability doesn’t end once our trailer leaves your driveway.

Realize if you use a broker, it’s unlikely you’ll meet or even know the actual mover’s identity before moving day. A qualified home mover needs to have proper licensing and insurance. This might not exist with a broker-arranged mover or, at best, the mover’s status would be unknown to you.

Since brokers operate sight unseen (or should we say “site unseen”?) their estimates often come up incorrectly low. Plus, a simple dollar figure shouldn’t be the deciding factor on what constitutes a conscientious interstate moving company. Several factors should be weighed to gain a complete picture as to which home mover is right for you.

“Be prepared for an unpleasant surprise,” AMSA officials warn the public about broker-arranged moves, “when the final charge turns out to be much higher than the original estimate provided over the phone or the internet.”

Reputable long-distance movers always will place a premium on providing accurate information and remaining accountable through the process. A moving professional worth his salt will want to see your home to determine an accurate estimate as well as to provide proper valuation to your prized possessions.

Peace of mind, affordability and quality service are significant considerations when selecting moving and relocation services.

Seeking an honest mover and affordable mover in Florida who takes the utmost pride in their work? Look no further than Affordable Moving Service & Storage, your go-to mover in Fort Myers and the rest of southwestern Florida. Contact us today for a FREE moving quote: (877) 281-9580. Find out why we’re the best movers in Cape Coral.


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