The problem with moving company brokers

Article posted by on May 30, 2017

In reading through the FMCSA’s rights and responsibilities booklet, you’ll see several references to moving company brokers alongside the term Movers or Moving Companies.  Brokers have the right to do business, and congress has decided to do little or nothing to see that they are not permitted to operate within the household goods industry.  What Congress [b]has done[/b], is insure that any broker clearly states on any of their advertising that they are in fact, a broker, not an actual moving company.  If you run into a broker who has not identified themselves as such through their ads, be sure to file a complaint with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

Let’s be clear, does not in any way shape or form encourage the use of household goods brokers.  We consider them an added step (and cost) and ad complexities to your move that can increase the chances something will go wrong.  Brokers setup your move for you, pick your mover and schedule pickup and delivery for you.  Sounds great, right?  Until you realize you have absolutely no control over which mover you use, when pickup and delivery occurs and it gives you two points of contact if anything goes wrong.

Two points of contact

Having two points of contact are a real hassle if anything goes wrong.  If you need to file a claim for your move and you have used a broker, to whom will you turn?  The mover?  The broker?  This is often the problem in this situation.  Most people are inclined to go back to their first point of contact, the broker.  However, the broker didn’t actually perform the move, the mover did.  So now you run off and call the moving company, but they didn’t arrange the move, the broker did.  So who’s going to settle your claim?

Chances are, nobody.  In many cases that we’ve seen reported here, this cycle continues until the consumer has run out of time to file their claim.  So in addition to paying a broker extra money to arrange your move, they are unwilling or unable to take care of your claim or help you make things right with the moving company.

Two points of payment

Did I point out that you were paying two companies to move?  That’s right, you paid a deposit, which was usually the brokerage fee, and then you paid the balance for the move, which was the fee for the moving company.

It’s not that you can’t use a broker, we aren’t going to stop you, but at the very least, go in well-informed and expect that there will be problems and have a plan to deal with them.

How do you know if your mover is legit?

The short answer is, you don’t.  Moving company brokers don’t always research their moving companies to make sure they are licensed, insured and have a history of few complaints.   And unfortunately, you are not likely to find out who your mover is until moving day.  This takes all control right out of your hands and puts your worldly possessions into the hands of someone you know nothing about.  If everything went right, consider yourself very lucky indeed.