TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - March 20, 2014) - About 4.5 million Canadians move every year. Reputable movers in the Canadian moving industry have been working hard to ensure that these consumers receive quality, professional services, by setting operating standards, using trained staff and equipment, and being attentive to consumer needs and existing legislation.
Nonetheless, the Canadian Association of Movers (CAM) is seeing an increase in the number of incidents in which consumers are being victimized by rogues who claim to be movers. CAM hears every day that consumers' goods are damaged and their claims are not honored, they are charged for fees well beyond the estimate, they are victimized through fraudulent paperwork, hidden fees and overcharges are extorted from them, and their household goods are held for ransom.
In an effort to remove the rogues that are harming Canadian consumers and to assist consumers in finding reputable movers that won't cheat and abuse them, CAM has declared 2014 to be The Year of the Reputable Mover.
Typically in a long distance move, a consumer will choose a company on the internet based on the lowest price quoted. The company then sells the move to a mover who will pick up the goods and in turn transfer the goods and the contract to another mover who will transport the goods across the country. That mover is then responsible to collect the fees. The complete transaction can involve companies in several provinces that commit a variety of infractions.
The Canadian moving industry operates under the regulations in provincial highway traffic and consumer protection legislation, and the Criminal Code of Canada. These laws are administered by various ministries in each province. As in the typical scenario just described, consumers are often caught in an inter-jurisdictional black hole where no single ministry or province has specific jurisdiction over the companies committing the infractions.
CAM is working to engage ministries across Canada to find a cooperative and coordinated solution to this problem. The Association has written to the ministries of justice, transportation, revenue and consumer affairs in every province, and has received some positive responses.
CAM has also contacted the Better Business Bureaus (BBBs) across the country to invite their cooperation in our efforts to identify these rogue companies.
The Canadian Association of Movers is taking steps to better educate consumers on how to protect themselves from the rogues profiting from this situation. In order to reduce the number of these harmful incidents, consumers must become aware of the risks involved in making wrong choices. The selection of a mover based on price alone is an invitation to a bad move.
To educate consumers about the pitfalls of choosing badly, representatives of the Association have been appearing on television, in newspaper articles and on the radio. CAM is also enhancing its online presence to extend its services to more consumers. We're also encouraging our members - screened, trained and professional movers - to readily identify themselves as CAM members so customers can more easily recognize them.
CAM urges consumers to follow these simple rules to better protect themselves and others from rogues:
- Do your due diligence before hiring a mover, as you would before purchasing any other major service. Get at least three quotes. Remember that the cheapest price might turn into the costliest move.
- Check out the mover's reputation with credible agencies, such as the province's consumer protection agency, the local BBB and CAM.
- If searching for a mover over the Internet, check out their reputation on the Internet. But remember to use the information found with considerable caution.
- Verify the mover's claims, credentials and memberships. Rogues won't be able to substantiate a good reputation.
- Ask the mover to put their quote and promises in writing beforehand. Rogues won't want a paper trail.
- Look for reputable logos - of CAM and the BBB - on movers' websites and sales materials. Verify them by calling CAM and the BBB. Fraudulent use of logos reflects a mover's unreliability.
- If you've been robbed, extorted or threatened - contact your local police service.
- If you've not received the services as contracted and paid for, contact the provincial consumer protection agencies involved, the BBB and CAM.
- ACT IN YOUR OWN BEST INTEREST - before and after the move. Help to bring the rogues into the light where their shady business practices can be addressed.
In 2014, CAM will be focusing on getting these messages out to consumers and government agencies. The challenge is getting folks to listen.
For further information: Contact the Canadian Association of Movers, Canada's moving industry trade association. CAM helps consumers by identifying good movers and monitoring movers' performance. CAM actively works with governments to urge their enforcement of laws in place to protect consumers when moving. Consumers should contact CAM at 1-866-860-0065; visit CAM's website, www.mover.net; fax enquiry to 1-866-601-8499; email to firstname.lastname@example.org; mail to PO Box 30039, RPO New Westminster, Thornhill, ON, Canada L4J 0C6.