Josh Stein

The real estate market is booming in many North Carolina communities as many families move neighborhoods, towns or states. We’re glad so many people want to live and work in our beautiful state, but moving can be stressful.

Adding to that stress? Movers who lose your belongings, damage your furniture or scam you out of your money. Here are some tips to help ensure a smooth move.

First, do your homework before you hire a mover. Your best bet is to ask friends and neighbors about moving companies they’ve had positive experiences with.

If you’re moving within the state, contact the North Carolina Utilities Commission at (919) 733-7766 or online at https://www.ncuc.net/ to access their list of certified movers. You can also ask the Commission if they have complaints against the company.

If you’re moving from one state to another, you can visit the U.S. Department of Transportation’s website at www.protectyourmove.gov to find registered and insured movers and check for complaints.

Make sure you get a written estimate of the costs and compare estimates from at least three movers before you pick one. Once you pick a moving company, get and review a bill of lading (B/L or BOL). This is a written contract that details the terms of the move, and your mover is required to provide it.

Look carefully at the terms, including dates, overage fees, and the policy in case items are lost or damaged. Keep a copy of the bill of lading with you so you can refer to it during the move and if any disputes arise.

Before the move, take careful inventory of your possessions. Write down an inventory and take additional pictures or videos of items that have significant financial or sentimental value. These records will be helpful if your belongings are damaged or broken during the move and you need to be reimbursed for these damages.

If you’re unhappy with your move, let the company know as soon as possible – this is a good time to refer to your bill of lading. You can also file a complaint with the company, with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (for between-state moves), or with the North Carolina Utilities Commission (for in-state moves).

You can also file a complaint with our office at 1-877-5-NO-SCAM or file a consumer complaint online if you’ve had a bad moving experience or think you’ve been the victim of a moving scam.

Moving is complicated enough as it is – don’t let unreliable movers make it worse.

Josh Stein is the Attorney General for the State of North Carolina. For more information, visit https://ncdoj.gov/

Thadd White is Group Editor of the Bertie Ledger-Advance, Chowan Herald, Perquimans Weekly, The Enterprise & Eastern North Carolina Living. He can be reached via email at twhite@ncweeklies.com.