Negotiating the Hostage Situation: Arizona’s New Law Trumps an Old Moving Scam

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This past February, Arizona took its first big step toward addressing an issue that plagues the entire nation.

“Yay! …Um, what’s the issue?”

The issue is the nasty practice by some super-nasty movers of holding a customer’s goods hostage until a ransom (i.e., a price much higher than the original quote) is paid. In a move that we might argue is long overdue, Arizona’s House passed HB2145, a bill mandating that a mover has an “absolute obligation” to deliver the customer’s goods.

“That’s good! …Right?”

Well, such legislation may sound right and good, but the Arizona Trucking Association wasn’t entirely pleased with that “absolute obligation” part, contending that this left customers with no compelling incentive to pay for their move at all if they didn’t want to. As they state on their website:

“ATA is concerned that, as written, will hurt legitimate movers who will have little recourse against customers who refuse to pay for services… ATA agrees with the intent of the bill. We want to eliminate bad movers who undermine the public trust. However, HB2145 has unintended consequences that will seriously jeopardize legitimate moving companies.”

The ATA’s point was well-taken, and HB2145 was revised to allow for the possibility that the final cost of the move could be higher than the original estimate due to legitimate reasons (e.g., extra items or more weight). In such an instance, HB2145 would require the customer to pay at least the original estimate, and in turn, the mover would be required to unload the goods.

And if one party decides not to play nice?

“If the mover balks when the original estimate is paid,” explains Tucson.com, “the legislation specifically empowers a police officer to direct the mover to unload the goods. Conversely, if the customer refuses to pay even the original estimate, the mover would be free to drive off with all of the items still in the truck, exercising what is called a “carrier’s lien” on the goods. There would, however, be an obligation on the mover to ensure that no harm comes to the items being held.”

On March 20th with these amendments in place, the Senate Committee on Commerce and Public Safety voted for the passage of HB2145, which was then passed by the Senate on April 18th. On May 1st, it was signed into law by Governor Ducey.

“Cool.”

Yes, definitely cool.

Duda Loses, Mets Fans Win!

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Hire A Helper Goes to Bat in a Pinch

Lucas Duda heads home. (via New York Daily News)

Lucas Duda heads home. (via New York Daily News)

Here at HireAHelper we are always looking for ways to beat back the negative stories about our industry by providing professional service, earning positive customer feedback and spreading goodwill all around. A few days ago we found the perfect opportunity to do something extra special in this regard, timed perfectly to honor May as National Moving Month.

According to the New York Daily News it seems Mets power-hitting first baseman (and…ahem…fellow USC alum) Lucas Duda was the target of a rob-job while the team was on the road. Before leaving town on April 6th Lucas handed his apartment keys to a representative of the moving company the Mets hired to move Duda while he was away. When he arrived at his new apartment on April 17th he found his door open and $1600 worth of stuff missing.

While this doesn’t shine a positive light on the movers no official statements have been made as to their possible involvement. Still, for someone fully involved in the moving industry and deeply committed to its success, this kind of story is tough to digest. But hey! I’m part of this country’s greatest marketplace for movers and I can do something about it! So even though we can’t do anything to help our friend Lucas (until his next move), we can jump in and help out his fans!

For the entire month of May we’ll be offering a free move* for each home run that Lucas Duda hits, home or away, win or lose, left field right field or deep to center. Here’s how it works: (more…)

Are My Movers Licensed and Insured?

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paperwork largeFirst of all, I want to say, “well done.” If you’re taking the time to ask this question and figure out the answer, you’re off to a great start! Nothing will ruin your move more than becoming the person in that horror story who has all their belongings stolen by their movers or is charged 300% more than the original quote. It’s important to protect yourself from the rogue movers and scammers operating nationwide this summer.

What is a licensed mover?

Regulations and requirements for licensure vary from state to state. You can check out your state’s requirements here. Some states require movers to register with the state as a moving company and to offer at least two options for insurance (full-valuation or released-value). Some states have additional requirements. Beyond insurance, states might set standards regarding estimates, liability, mover agreements, etc. (more…)

Do Movers Always Add on Extra Fees After a Job?

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A customer tweeted a review of their helper yesterday that reminded me, again, of one of the main reasons we’re trying so hard to let everyone know about HireAHelper.

Screenshot of HireAHelper Customer Review

It’s too often that customers note, and appreciate the fact that they aren’t charged additional fees at the end of jobs booked on HireAHelper.com. This should be the industry standard! I understand it takes more effort than usual to go up 5 flights of stairs or to safely carry a baby grand piano out of a house. Those parts of moving that require extra skill or energy should be compensated with appropriate additional fees. But let the customer know up front what all the fees and costs are. It only takes a few seconds to say “Here’s our price, plus we charge $100 to move upright pianos, and $10 per flight of stairs above 3 flights.”

I don’t walk into In-N-Out, order a double-double, extra cheese, animal style, sit down and enjoy it, to then get up and be met at the door by an employee asking me for a $3 seat-fee. I know exactly what I’m paying and why, and so I return to In-N-Out regularly (plus the burgers are great). More and more people each year are scared away from using the moving industry to help them relocate because of terrible past experiences, most involving bogus extra charges that surprised them at the end of a job.

My plea with those of you in our glorious moving industry is simple:

Be clear and upfront with your pricing and fees.

Charge what you need to in order to make a good living – you work hard and deserve that. Just be as forthright as you can with what they can expect to pay, and we’ll all see the moving industry established in the mind of the consumer as the professional service it really is.

And if you’re a customer wondering if you’ll always have to worry about fees being added on to your bill at the end of your move, our answer is a resounding, “No!” Quotes on HireAHelper are as clear as we can possibly make them – a flat cost for the first set of hours, and one hourly fee for any time used beyond that. The extra hourly fee doesn’t change as the job gets closer, and there are no hidden travel fees or gas costs to be worried about. Thanks for letting me vent a little. Have a great rest of your Tuesday.

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How to Avoid Moving Scams

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As I was reading through moving-related news today, I noticed most the articles were about moving scams. What frustrates me the most is that we’re now going on decades of this behavior without a clear end in sight. You’d think at some point the criminals would be caught and locked up leaving the rest of us a little less stressed about our next move. Moving is stressful enough even if it all goes perfectly. So I put together a quick note with some tips on how to avoid moving scams.

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