Troubleshooters: Moving bill increased after truck loaded

A couple who moved to Louisville contacted the WAVE Troubleshooter hotline after their stuff has been missing for a month.
Published: Jun. 26, 2023 at 4:04 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Moving is always stressful.

A couple who moved to Louisville from Florida in early June to help care for a family member with cancer contacted the WAVE Troubleshooter hotline after their stuff has been missing for a month and the price they’re being charged is way more than the original estimate.

Paul and Valerie Edgerly didn’t plan to leave Florida. But when they realized how much help their family member needed, they needed to get here quickly. They thought they got a good price to move their stuff, but said the cost tripled after everything was put on the moving truck.

“I don’t even remember looking at it. It was a whirlwind tour, I just remember it was big, it was all painted,” Paul Edgerly said as he showed WAVE around his condo.

The Edgerly’s new condo has two bedrooms, a nice dining area, is clean and ready to go. And it’s empty.

“We don’t have any furniture, or personal belongings,” Valerie Edgerly said.

“We don’t even have birth certifcates, tax records, passports,” Paul Edgerly said.

The Edgerlys hired professionals through a broker to pack up their house in Florida and bring everything to their new condo. A broker took an inventory over the phone. Then a second company, the movers, showed up to pack up the house on May 19th. Over a month later when WAVE visited, the Edgerly’s still had nothing.

“I feel so mad,” Paul Edgerly said.

But the bill really upset the Edgerly’s. Their original binding estimate from the broker was $5,754. The new price when the movers loaded the truck, more than $14,000.

“When did they come up to you with this document and say, this is the new price?” Mark Stevens asked.

“After everything was loaded on the truck,” Valerie Edgerly said.

“After it’s on the truck, so they didn’t stop you and say here’s the deal we can’t honor this?” asked Stevens.

“No it wasn’t like that, it wasn’t like they had to do a rewrite,” Paul Edgerly said.

“At that point they’re violating the regulations and we within the industry don’t even want to consider them a moving company,” Ryan Bowley with the American Trucking Association said.

Bowley leads the moving and storage unit within American Trucking Association. As WAVE shared with him what the Edgerly’s experienced, he pointed out a number of red flags. A big one, both the estimate and the actual moving contract have to be signed before a single box is loaded.

“Both of those need to be signed by both parties before the goods go on the truck,” Bowley said.

Second, the actual movers need to see your stuff in person or on video when they’re drawing up the estimate.

“It has got to be based on an in person or virtual survey of the home conducted by the mover that will be transporting the shipment,” Bowley said.

And third, research. Understand who you’re dealing with. Is it a mover, or a broker? Check the company’s credentials, reviews from the Better Business Bureau, anything beyond the company website.

“You’re putting your household goods, a huge part of your life, a huge part of your treasure, in the hands of someone,” Bowley said.

The Edgerly’s got a bit of an update while WAVE was there. A representative from Best Choice Moving said their belongings could arrive over the weekend.

“What the driver said is he is running a little bit behind, he has other deliveries along the way, but he will call you 24 hours prior,” the representative said over the phone.

And while they waited, WAVE got to work on understanding what happened.

The broker, Best Choice Moving is registered with the federal government. Their website shows they’ve been in business 15 years but state records show the company was incorporated in Florida two days before Christmas.

The moving company MAP Moving and Storage is also registered with the federal government. They had two dozen complaints filed against them in 2021, but have been doing better since.

MAP explained the Edgerly’s were originally given an estimate of $5,754 by broker Best Choice moving on May 1st. On May 17th, Best Choice updated its estimate to less than $12,000 after getting an updated box count from the Edgerly’s. Valerie remembered that phone call but never saw the revised estimate and said she was never told the new price. The next dollar amount Paul and Valerie saw was $14,000 after the truck was loaded.

“It is a lot of pressure, now you no longer have it, they do, and you owe them money,” Paul Edgerly said.

MAP said its driver was supposed to give the Edgerly’s the updated price before loading. The Edgerly’s said that didn’t happen, and when WAVE reviewed the contract we noticed the foreman signed it on the 19th, but Valerie didn’t sign until the next day. WAVE called MAP back and they said that shouldn’t have happened. They’ve offered the Edgerly’s a $2,800 refund. Paul and Valerie are fighting for more.

There are a number of websites to use to help research movers.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration allows you to research moving companies and brokers.

The American Trucking Association also certifies movers.

Check Better Business Bureau listings as well.