Press Releases


What to Know When Hiring a Mover


July 8, 2015

What to Know When Hiring a Mover

HARTFORD, July 8 – If moving your home or your vehicle is on your to-do list this summer, the Department of Consumer Protection wants you to steer clear of preventable problems and scams, Commissioner Jonathan A. Harris said today.

“I’ve heard from families who were taken by total surprise by unexpected costs that were added to their estimate after their homes were packed and on the truck,” Harris said. “Many moving problems arise out of misinformation or misunderstanding. As the customer, make it a priority to be completely confident that you’re dealing with a reputable company, and completely clear about the costs and services.”

People have reported that:

  • Their final bill was much higher than the original quote, or included charges and fees that were not disclosed in advance;
  • Their moved items were “held hostage” on the truck until they paid extra money;
  • Some of their personal belongings were stolen;
  • Movers “ran the clock” on moves that charged by the hour; and
  • It was difficult or impossible to get reimbursement for lost, stolen or damaged items.

When planning your move:

  • Start early so you can get several estimates. When you call around, find out if you are talking with a broker – who will “sell” your moving job to a subcontractor – or if you’ve reached an actual business with employees who will be doing the move. Ask whether their movers are regular employees or temporary workers. You would prefer a crew of regular employees who frequently work together on jobs.
  • Have several moving companies come to your home and give you an estimate. If possible, and especially if you are working with a broker, ask that the estimate be given by the crew leader who would be working on your move. 
  • Ask for a written, itemized estimate with all charges and fees included. These extra charges could include a fuel surcharge fee, travel time fee, taxes, weight surcharge, and overtime costs. Make sure the estimate is signed by the mover.
  • If you are moving to another state, ask movers about shipping timetables. Some movers will only ship your belongings once a truck is full, or based on a pre-set schedule, which means you may have to wait for your items to arrive. Find out when the mover will ship your belongings, and what compensation you will receive if your items arrive late.

  • Ask for proof of licensing and insurance, and verify licensing. Out of state movers require a federal license as well as state license.

o    Federal: 

o    CT:  Department of Transportation Regulatory & Licensing  Unit: (860) 594-2000 

  • Ask for Full Value Protection insurance, not Release Value insurance. (In Release Value insurance, the mover will pay no more than 60 cents per pound per lost or damaged item. For example, if your 10-pound stereo worth $1,000 is lost during a move, with this type of insurance you would get only $6.00 in compensation.) Under Full Value Protection, the mover must repair, replace, or give you cash for the cost of replacing a damaged item at current market value. Make sure you receive a copy of any insurance policy.
  • On moving day, if your mover claims that you have more items than estimated, halt the packing and loading until you are given a revised estimate listing the additional items and/or services and the new price.  Once the truck is packed, ask for a receipt (also called “a bill of lading”) which shows that the movers have your belongings.  

Steer clear of “red flags”

  • Don’t trust any estimate that is given to you over the phone, sight unseen.
  • Don’t sign any blank or incomplete documents.
  • Don’t pre-pay a large sum of money upfront.
  • Don’t sign a contract or give money to movers who do not return telephone calls or confirm dates.
  • Avoid companies that only provide a generic name like “Moving Company” or “Transport Company”.
  • Don’t choose movers whose website doesn’t provide a local address or information about licensing or insurance.
  • Be wary of movers that drive unmarked trucks or trucks from rent-by-day businesses, like U-Haul or Enterprise.

Moving your vehicle by truck requires special attention --

  • In addition to getting estimates and verifying licenses, resist paying a deposit until you have written confirmation on a transport truck, and the name, license number and telephone number of your driver is confirmed. Stay away from any mover who wants a large deposit sent to them by wire transfer, check, or PayPal.
  • Before your vehicle is loaded on the truck, wash it so you can easily spot any scratches or dents – before and after the move.
  • Keep the gas tank only one-quarter full before the move. Less fuel means less weight, and less cost to move. 
  • Remove all personal or valuable items from the vehicle and together with the carrier, inspect your vehicle for damage before it is loaded onto the truck.
  • Get a copy of the Vehicle Inspection Report.
  • Inspect your vehicle upon arrival and get a signed damage claim form from the driver.

If you are a victim of a rogue mover or auto-transporter:

  • File a complaint with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration by calling 1-888-DOT-SAFT.
  • File a complaint with the Connecticut Department of Transportation at
  • Fiile a complaint with the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection at under “Complaint Center.”

Various state and federal laws regulate movers working in Connecticut. For details, please visit the Department of Consumer Protection’s website page on moving. More information on moves and moving is available at


Media Contact: Claudette Carveth
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