Spring is prime moving season in Illinois. Unfortunately, that gives dishonest or rogue movers the opportunity to take advantage of consumers. The Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) is urging residents planning a move to prepare and research a moving company before packing any boxes.
“When we move, we’re entrusting the contents of our life with a company. Before handing everything you own over to a mover, be sure to research the company so you can make the safest decision for your home,” said Ruben Ramirez, ICC’s Chief of Police. “The ICC is happy to offer tips and resources to help Illinoisans vet potential movers and keep their belongings safe as they travel from home to home.”
Consumers can check to see if an intrastate household goods mover is properly licensed to operate in Illinois and view the number of complaints filed against each company through the ICC website here. This information can also be obtained by calling the ICC at (217) 782-6448.
Intrastate moving companies in Illinois must be licensed by the ICC. If you are putting your property into storage, be sure the warehouse is also licensed by the ICC, and if you are moving to another state, the mover must be licensed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration which can be checked here.
Here are a few ICC Smart Tips to follow before hiring a mover:
- Check to see if the moving company is licensed by the ICC to operate in Illinois.
- Do not rely on mobile apps alone to select and schedule your movers.
- Ask the mover to visit your home. If you can, show them the contents of every room, closet, garage, etc. you want moved, and talk about what they can expect at the new home.
- Request a written estimate. A written quote is not binding, but it will give you a reasonable expectation of what you will be required to pay on moving day.
- Discuss your options for loss and damage protection – get it in writing.
- Call the ICC at 217-782-6448 to verify rates on file.
- Be prepared to pay 110 percent of the written estimate on moving day. If the estimate was too low, the mover cannot hold your goods if you pay the amount on the written estimate, plus an additional 10 percent
- If a mover offers ‘freebies’ (cartons, tape, etc.) ask questions to avoid surprises later.
- A legitimate, licensed moving company will not demand cash up front before loading your possessions and tipping is not required.
- Start your search at least six weeks ahead of your move.
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) and the Illinois Movers’ and Warehousemen’s Association are also urging people to do their due diligence and research companies before they consider doing business with them.
“It’s essential to look up a business’s ratings and reviews, and a great place to start, no matter where you’re moving, is with bbb.org,” said Steve Bernas, President and CEO of the Better Business Bureau. “There are excellent moving companies out there but dealing with a bad company or a scam takes a financial and emotional toll on victims who are in an already stressful situation. In a typical year, over 40 percent of inquiries to BBB about moving companies occur from May to August, greatly increasing the potential of being a victim.”
“Customers who work with unlicensed movers are on their own if something goes wrong during their move—whether that’s an on-the-job injury or damaged household goods. The Illinois Movers’ and Warehousemen’s Association has over 200 reliable, licensed movers to help Illinoisians avoid scams or other moving disasters,” said Matt Hart, Executive Director of the Illinois Movers’ and Warehousemen’s Association.
Throughout the year, ICC Police Officers on patrol will issue administrative and court citations to household goods movers for violations ranging from operating without a household goods license to driving on a suspended license. Consumers wishing to file a complaint against an intrastate household goods mover may do so here.
Copies of various ICC one-page consumer Smart Tip campaign flyers are available here.
About the Illinois Commerce Commission
The Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) is a quasi-judicial body made up of five Commissioners. Through its Public Utility Program, the Commission oversees the provision of adequate, reliable, efficient, and safe utility services at the least possible cost to Illinois citizens served by electric, natural gas, telecommunications, water and sewer public utility companies. Through its Transportation Regulatory Program, the Commission oversees public safety and consumer protection programs with regard to intrastate commercial motor carriers of general freight, household goods movers, relocation towers, safety towers, personal property warehouses and repossession agencies. The Commission’s Rail Safety Program also inspects and regulates the general safety of railroad tracks, facilities and equipment in the state.
To learn more about the Commission, its offices, and bureaus, click here. If you are a consumer who needs help resolving a utility dispute call 800-524-0795 or file an online complaint here. For a complaint related to transportation, call (217) 782-6448.
Follow the Illinois Commerce Commission on social media @ILCommerceComm