Lauren Richeson is settled in her new apartment now - but for months a moving company held her belongings hostage.
That even though she paid the total moving cost agreed upon - 900 dollars up front. When the movers got to her new home they demanded 900 dollars more.
Lauren Richeson,"I freaked out. I refused. And so they shut the door, put my things back on and drove off with all of my stuff."
Lauren says her mother found the company in the phone book.
It gave her a low estimate sight unseen.
"If a company insists on giving you an estimate over the phone or Internet instead of coming to your home, that's a bad sign. And never sign a document that has a lot of blank spaces that haven't been filled in. Another red flag? The movers are using unmarked trucks."
To find a legitimate mover with a good reputation, seek out recommendations from real-estate agents or friends who have actually used the company.
Anthony Giorgianni,"We recommend getting estimates from at least three companies, and do your homework. Make sure the companies are licensed, for
example."
There's a helpful website, ProtectYourMove.gov, that lists all companies licensed for interstate moves and tells you if there are any complaints.
You can also check the ratings of the Better Business Bureau at bbb.org.
Anthony Giorgianni,
"If there's a problem, such as damaged or missing goods, notify the mover immediately. If you think you've been defrauded, contact your state attorney
general or consumer protection department."
Lauren went after the company - calling the police and notifying several government agencies. She finally was able to recover her
possessions without paying another cent. ."