More people move during the summer months than at any other time of year. So it's a good time to remember what your rights are under state law, and how to protect yourself when hiring a mover.
All companies moving people within New Jersey must be licensed with the Regulated Business Section of the state's Division of Consumer Affairs. Contact the division before hiring any mover, to be sure the company is licensed and to find out how many consumers have complained about it. Call 973-504-6442 or 973-504-6512, or visit:
There are 309 licensed movers in the state. If a moving company is not licensed, don't use it. It is breaking the law. Instead, report it to the state through the numbers listed below.
Consumers who have written to this column have complained about damage to their property not being reimbursed, being charged far more than the estimated cost and, in some cases, never receiving their property from moving companies.
In most cases, the movers we have gotten letters about have been unlicensed and unresponsive to our mediation attempts.
The state has already settled with seven moving companies in 2009 for violating the Consumer Fraud Act, the Public Movers and Warehousemen Licensing Act and Public Mover regulations.
Most recently, it settled with A Atlantic Plus Moving and Storage, Inc., of Passaic, requiring the company to resolve consumer complaints filed with the state and pay more than $5,000 in civil penalties and reimbursements.
It also recently fined four other northern New Jersey moving companies $2,000 each for operating without licenses and entered into settlements requiring them to become licensed or cease operating.
"The period between Memorial Day and Labor Day traditionally is the busiest time for moving and relocating. We urge consumers to know their rights under New Jersey law before hiring a moving company," said David Szuchman, Consumer Affairs director, in a release this week.
Here are some tips from Szuchman:
For more information on moving companies in New Jersey, visit:
Consumer Action will respond to each properly submitted letter about a problem or question, either in this column or by letter or phone. Letters must include copies - not originals - of all relevant documentation and a name, address and phone number at which you can be reached. Send letters to: Consumer Action, The Press, 11 Devins Lane, Pleasantville, NJ 08232.