Ellen Roseman: Industry Canada wants to regulate movers
- May 12, 2010 9:27 AM |
- By Ellen Roseman
Ellen Roseman is a business writer at the Toronto Star.
Dealing with a household mover can often cause a hold up. I'm not talking about being held up in traffic. I'm talking about having your belongings held up while the mover tries to extort more money from you.
Take Edith, who called a mover that advertised a $40-an-hour rate. She handed over a $300 deposit to move furniture from the store to her home, a distance of 8 kilometres. Once the movers started driving, they changed the deal. Now she'd have to pay $500 or the item wouldn't go anywhere.
Edith did her research after the fact and found more complaints than she could count. This mover had been pulling a bait-and-switch scam for years.
Another client paid a $100 deposit and refused to give in to a demand for $600. The result was that he had to unload his belongings from the truck and find another mover on short notice, while leaving his stuff on the loading dock of his condo.
Now there's good news. Industry Canada wants to put the moves on movers after receiving a deluge of complaints from consumers who said they'd been ripped off.
Some provinces already have laws to control movers. In Ontario, for example, the Consumer Protection Act says the final price charged for a contract can't exceed the estimate by more than 10 per cent.
Unfortunately, many customers never get a written estimate. They get a verbal promise on the phone and later sign a paper at the door when the movers show up, not realizing they're giving permission to charge much more than agreed.
Some movers charge an hourly rate for each team member. They charge extra for stairs or for using an elevator. They charge extra if your item's weight is over the maximum limit (say, 25 kilograms).
Industry Canada wants to harmonize provincial laws across the country. It says in a briefing note that one in every four moves generates a consumer complaint.
The Canadian Council of Better Business Bureaus says complaints about movers were No. 7 on its top 10 list of consumer beefs last year.
Even an industry group, the Canadian Association of Movers, supports stronger laws to wipe out the practice of holding up household belongings for ransom.
Your best defense is a good offense. Don't fall for low advertised rates. Check the written contract before making a booking. And always check for complaints online before approving the move.
- Andrew Wahl (19)
- Andrew Willis (13)
- Bob LeDrew (10)
- Dan Noel (1)
- David Baskin (18)
- David Berman (1)
- David Colman (14)
- Deborah Yedlin (29)
- Duncan Stewart (29)
- Ellen Roseman (90)
- Jacqueline Drew (10)
- Jim Bray (25)
- Jim Jubak (6)
- John Gilchrist (4)
- Kelly VanBuskirk (6)
- Kira Vermond (73)
- Loraleigh Kovacik (9)
- Michael Hlinka (183)
- Peter Vincent (16)
- Pierre Battah (1)
- Todd Hirsch (1)
All News blogs
- Kira Vermond: Resolutions for Work
- New Year, new you. At least that's what you're shooting for in 2012 at your workplace. This is the year that you're going to ditch your wallflower ways, speak up in meetings and take the initiative.... Continue reading this post
- Ellen Roseman: Air Miles-Use them or lose them!
- If you're collecting Air Miles, you now have only five years to use them. And if you don't redeem in time, you'll lose them.... Continue reading this post