Contact Denver7 Top Moving Mistakes
The summer moving season begins, and so do the sleazy movers. Contact Denver7 is already getting emails from people who are losing thousands of dollars, or even worse, losing everything they own.
There is maximum shade in the mostly unregulated moving industry and minimum protection for you and your belongings. That’s why Contact Denver7 has compiled a list of what people are doing wrong so you can get it right.
“It’s just heartbreaking that this keeps happening,” said Bret Frigon, who graciously agreed to be the example of “what not to do” to warn others. “I was googling movers, and I found Mile High Van Lines, which I was interested in because I’m a huge Denver fan. I grew up with John Elway and the Broncos. I I was just like, “What is this? They looked pretty good.”
Go Broncos! But that’s not how you find a reputable mover.
The BBB shows Denver-based Mile High Van Lines has an F rating, an alert and dozens of complaints. There are also several complaints against Mile High Van Lines on protectyourmove.gov.
Before hiring a mover, you should research a physical location. Beware of companies that don’t have one or have an unmarked, dilapidated warehouse.
After Mile High Van Lines didn’t respond to our request for comment, we went to their address, finding a warehouse in North Denver with no sign. A man working inside said he only spoke Russian and handed us a cell phone.
“They were renting the place from us but I think they moved,” said the man on the phone, who only identified himself as Michael. “We have two other moving companies there now.”
Take it from Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser, your move is not the time to hunt for a bargain.
“A lot of people only hire a mover once or twice, so you’re not building a trustworthy relationship,” Weiser said. “Instead, you can look for a deal. And that’s what gets people in trouble.”
Here is red flags look for:
- A low estimate by phone or online, in sight
- A large deposit is required before the move
- A claim that you have more possessions than expected on moving day
Frigon says that’s what happened to him – an estimate of $14,000 exploded when the movers arrived, adding $8,000 to the total, even though he had sold many of the items included in the original estimate.
“They said, ‘Well, if you read the fine print on the estimate, you know, it shows it could change,'” Frigon said. “And I understand that estimates change, and I was prepared to pay five, 10 per cent more, but it was 50 per cent more than the original estimate, which I was really, really struggling with. “
Your contract should include delivery dates and consequences for damage or late delivery.
When Frigon attempted to fight off the charge, he discovered the fourth move error.
“I didn’t realize this company was negotiating our move,” Frigon said. “And that’s exactly what they did. They negotiated it with someone else. And then you really have no recourse because there are too many players involved here.”
Denver7 has been reporting for years on a Colorado mover, David Zoda, who now owns H&M Movers. He has been repeatedly accused of holding personal items hostage for months and demanding more money. Although there was an investigation, no charges were filed.
Contact Denver7 routinely receives complaints about company people being unknowingly booked through a moving broker.
So, does Colorado need tougher laws to protect people from moving scams?
“We will continue to review whether our laws provide sufficient consequences,” Weiser said.
Weiser says that, much like predatory towing legislation recently passed by the state legislature, new laws may be needed to keep predatory movers out.
Until then, the move is basically the Wild West. You are not protected, so you must protect yourself with knowledge.
Editor’s note: Denver7 is seeking advice and public input to help those in need, solve problems, and hold the powerful accountable. If you know of a community need that our call center could address, or have an idea for a story for our team of investigators to pursue, please email us at [email protected] or call (720) 462-7777. Find more stories from Contact Denver7 here.