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The Dangers of Hiring an Unlicensed Mover
Moving doesn’t just require time, a financial investment and brute strength - it involves a lot of decision-making. One of the biggest decisions involved in moving is hiring the right movers to transport your belongings to your new home. Your movers will be entrusted with the responsibility of transporting all of your possessions. It has likely taken you a lifetime to accumulate all your furniture and belongings, so it’s critical to find a team you trust.Conducting research about prospective moving companies is such a critical stage of the moving process because it empowers you to make an informed decision and minimize risk as much as possible. One of the first and most important things to consider when searching for a professional moving company is whether or not they are licensed.
Why a License is So Important
Licensed moving companies are held to certain standards to ensure that customers and their belongings are legally protected. Licensed moving companies are also held liable for damages that may be sustained during a move. A license ensures that a moving company is insured in case of an accident during the moving process and requires that companies have a U.S. DOT registration, an essential license required to operate commercial vehicles such as large box trucks typically used in moving.
In order for a moving company to obtain a license, they must:
- Maintain cargo liability insurance
- Maintain workers' compensation insurance as well as bodily injury and property damage insurance
- Provide the Division of Consumer Affairs with proof of vehicle registration and insurance coverage
- Display the mover’s license number on the outside of the moving vehicle
Licensed, reliable moving companies like All Jersey Moving and Storage have all of the legally mandated requirements necessary in order to safely and securely move your belongings so you can enjoy peace of mind during the moving process. It is your right as a consumer that those standards be met, and All Jersey Moving and Storage has a track record of meeting and exceeding these standards every time we execute a move.
Why Hiring an Unlicensed Mover is a Risk
When you hire an unlicensed moving company, you aren’t protected during the moving process, leaving you and your belongings at great risk. An unlicensed mover hasn’t achieved all of the critical components necessary for operation, Typically, unlicensed moving companies are not insured and have inexperienced, illegal, or incompetent employees. This, among other frightening risks, means that when unlicensed movers transport your belongings, they cannot be easily held legally accountable for any damages, losses or thefts.
Horror Stories Involving Unlicensed Movers
In order to avoid the horror stories that too often unfold with unlicensed, New Jersey state judicial members have actively tried to fine unlicensed movers for unlawful moving practices. In a news report by the Daily Record, Operation Mother’s Attic, a sting operation implemented in 2016 to catch unlicensed moving companies, found and cited 29 moving companies that were operating without a license. In the sting, dozens of moving companies that were being watched closely under suspicion of not having a license were asked to move belongings out of a home in the upper-class area of Valhalla Estates in Montville. Upon arriving, they were met by the Division of Consumer Affairs, state police, and other authorities.
Operation Mother’s Attic also unearthed 29 motor vehicle violations by the unlicensed moving companies. Of them, five vehicles were mandated by state police Mobile Safety Freight Unit to be removed from service because of how serious their violations were. The Mobile Safety Freight Unit also discovered that three of the drivers did not have a valid driver’s license or the proper motor carrier license, and therefore weren’t even allowed to drive away from the scene. Even more concerning was that two of the employees on the scene of the sting had outstanding warrants and were therefore arrested. Another employee was also in possession of under 50 grams of marijuana and was also taken into custody.
New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal stated that the reason for the crackdown on unlicensed movers is because “they’ve been known to hold truckloads of property hostage until the customer pays an extortionate fee. And these unlicensed movers often don’t carry adequate insurance, creating the risk that homeowners will be left high and dry if their property is seriously damaged during the move. That’s why we regulate the industry — and why we crack down on rogue operators.”
“An unlicensed moving company can be a homeowner’s worst nightmare,” Grewal cautions.
The sting highlights only one of the dangers of hiring an unlicensed moving company. There were two other frightening occurrences that took place in New Jersey that bring some of the other terrifying risks of hiring unlicensed movers to light.
In one instance, a moving company was hired by a family to move their items into a storage facility. The movers held the family’s belongings for ransom, demanding $2,000.00 in cash if the family wanted them back.
In an even more serious incident that took place in November of 2014, the NJ Division of Consumer Affairs, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration all teamed up with the state police in a sting operation to catch unlicensed moving companies operating illegally. The sting led to 10 different arrests. Seven employees were arrested for being in the U.S. illegally. Three other employees were arrested for outstanding criminal or misdemeanor charges such as possession of a loaded firearm, theft, disorderly conduct, and sexual abuse against a minor.
Aside from the financial risk taken by hiring an unlicensed moving company, you may also be jeopardizing your personal safety and that of your family.
How to Avoid Hiring the Wrong Moving Company
It goes without saying that in order to protect yourself, your family, and your belongings, it’s critical that you do your homework before committing to a moving company. This means you must:
- Ensure that the moving company has a valid business license. This means that they can be legally held accountable for anything that may happen during your move. You can check to see if a company has a business license by visiting the Division of Consumer Affairs website and searching the company in question in its database.
- Check out the moving company’s reviews and awards. These are real-life accounts of moves that have taken place with customers just like you. Reviews give you a glimpse into what your future may hold if you choose to use a moving company. Check out All Jersey Moving and Storage’s client testimonials and the awards we’ve won over the years for our moving services.
- Get all moving quotes and estimates in writing for your records. Quotes are typically derived by assessing factors such as hourly rate, the weight of belongings, miles traveled, or by cubic measurement.
- Keep high-value items in your possession. It’s important to keep in mind that movers are not responsible for items considered to be of extraordinary value. It’s, therefore, best to keep jewelry, money, and important documents with you during the move in a lockbox or safe. However, All Jersey Moving and Storage offers the specialized service of transporting fine art and antiques.
- Review your belongings once they’ve been unpacked in your new home. Checking your belongings upon delivery is important so you can gauge if anything was lost or damaged during the move. If you notice an issue, notify your movers immediately. You are legally allowed up to 90 days from your move-in date to report any damages to your items. Remember that checking reviews and client testimonials prior to hiring a moving company helps minimize the likelihood that your belongings or home will sustain damage during the moving process.
- Consider obtaining additional coverage. If damages are sustained, moving companies are only required to compensate $1 per pound per item that was damaged. If necessary, purchase additional coverage for items of high value. Unfortunately, you can’t always place a dollar amount on items of sentimental value, such as family heirlooms or unique keepsakes from your travels. Therefore, while it may be worthwhile purchasing additional coverage, the most important move you can make is investing time into researching trustworthy, experienced moving experience that others have successfully entrusted with their valuable belongings.
At All Jersey Moving & Storage, we’ve built our reputation on our dedication to caring for your items just as we would our own. Here are some things to consider when hiring a moving company to minimize your risk.
Benefits of Hiring a Licensed Moving Company
There are many, many unlicensed moving companies out there vying for your business. They take advantage of the fact that a lot of people are so overwhelmed during the moving process that they don’t do adequate research and consequently don’t know any better. Unlicensed movers often lure customers with their low-ball moving estimates. Ultimately, these companies cut corners to save a buck by hiring unauthorized employees, skipping out on insurance and licensing costs, or trying to swindle unsuspecting professionals and families into paying them astronomical fees through corrupt practices.
When hiring a moving company, it can be easy to be attracted to the company offering the cheapest quote. But remember, you get what you pay for. When choosing a professional, licensed and experienced moving company, remember that you’re investing in:
- A trustworthy moving process that ensures that all of your needs are met to the best of the moving company’s abilities.
- A specific, firm, and legally protected contract that protects your financial transaction with the moving company.
- The safety of your belongings and peace of mind for you and your family, both of which are priceless. Remember, the employees of the moving company you hire will know your new address and where your belongings will likely be kept in your new home.
- A competent, well-trained and trustworthy team of movers.
Choosing a Moving Company You Can Trust
Your peace of mind during the moving process is priceless...and so are some of your possessions! Even when things go smoothly, the moving process can be nerve-wracking and overwhelming. Rather than paying a low-cost, unlicensed moving company and exposing yourself to a laundry list of unnecessary risks, invest your trust in a moving company that will safely, effectively, and legally carry out your move.
At All Jersey Moving & Storage, we do everything in our power to make the moving process stress-free. In addition to being professionally licensed and insured, our movers are experienced and we have the necessary tools to conduct moves safely and securely. We also offer affordable, competitive moving quotes.
If you’re searching for a professional moving company you can really trust, contact All Jersey Moving and Storage for a free moving quote today.