PHOENIX – As Arizona’s peak moving season begins, Attorney General Mark Brnovich is warning consumers to look out for unscrupulous movers who take advantage of hardworking families. Moving scams come in a variety of forms, including false advertising, undisclosed fees, lack of insurance, and lowball prices combined with bait-and-switch tactics. Peak moving season in Arizona starts in May and ends in July.
"Hostage loads are against the law and Arizonans will now have even more protection during the moving process," said Attorney General Mark Brnovich. "Spotting a moving scam can be tricky. Education and vigilance are key to protecting yourself from unethical movers."
This year, the Attorney General’s Office worked with Representative Jeff Weninger on legislation that protects Arizona families during the moving process. The new law, recently signed by the Governor, will take effect 90 days after the legislative session ends. It requires moving companies to accurately and completely disclose information about fees, charges, and insurance. Movers cannot refuse to deliver goods, unless they provided consumers with an up-front estimate and the consumer has not paid that amount.
AG Brnovich offers the following tips for consumers who are moving:
- Start your research as early as possible. Consumers should check on a business’ complaint history and reputation with organizations like the Better Business Bureau before hiring a moving company. Thorough research is your best protection from getting stuck with an unscrupulous moving company.
- Beware of extremely low estimates. Dishonest moving companies will often give you a low estimate over the phone to get your business and then demand far more after your goods have been loaded onto their truck. Under the new law, a moving company must abide by the agreed upon amount before any moving services begin.
- Ask about charges or additional fees. Moving companies may surprise you with fees such as travel time, packing materials, fees for stairs or gas, and/or a minimum charge for the move. The new law requires moving companies to disclose all fees involved in a move.
- Read before signing. Dishonest movers have been known to alter estimates and add undisclosed charges on the day of the move. Ask to see a copy of the contract before the move begins. Make sure you retain a copy of the signed contract with the amount you agreed to pay.
If you believe you have been a victim of consumer fraud, please file a complaint with the Attorney General’s Office. Consumers may contact the Attorney General’s Office in Phoenix at (602) 542-5763, in Tucson at (520) 628-6648, or outside the Phoenix and Tucson metro areas at (800) 352-8431.