British Columbia

Better Business Bureau warns of moving company scams

The Better Business Bureau is cautioning people about a moving company it says it has gotten numerous complaints about.

Watchdog gives Canadian Van Lines an F rating because of numerous complaints

The Better Business Bureau has several tips to ensure people are hiring a reputable moving company. (iStock)

The Better Business Bureau is warning people about a moving company it says it has gotten numerous complaints about

The consumer protection advocacy group says it has given Canadian Van Lines an F rating because of complaints ranging from not showing up to putting items in storage and forcing clients to get them themselves. 

Lori Klassen from Cultus Lake, B.C., hired the company in 2015. She said Canadian Van Lines wanted half their fee up front.

On the day of the move, the movers didn't show up after several calls, citing delays.

"It was really bizarre," she said. "The story kept changing and the whole scenario was so bizarre. Then I realized I was being conned."

Klassen said the family eventually had to move their belongings themselves. It took them more than a year for them to get their $450 deposit back.

She contacted the Better Business Bureau and found out she wasn't the only one who had a problem with the company.

Canadian Van Lines disputes the bureau's claims, saying the company has been under new management for the past year and a half and hasn't had any complaints since then.

"Even over the last three years, there was only 30 to 35 complaints, out of over 2,000 moves"," company spokesman Mark Ians said. 

According to the Better Business Bureau, the company has had 57 complaints over the past three years — some of those in the past year — and the company hasn't responded to 23 of them. 

Tips to find reputable movers

Kelly said Klassen's story raises a number of red flags others should watch for — the large deposit being one of them. 

"We get a lot of complaints about movers," said BBB spokesman Evan Kelly.

"The difficulty is there is not a lot of regulation in the industry. It's almost like anyone with a truck can get into the business."

Kelly said the Better Business Bureau has several tips for people looking to hire a mover. 

"What it comes down to is doing your research," Kelly said. "Find an accredited mover that has no complaints."

Other tips include:

  • Asking for references.
  • Getting everything in writing, including times and dates, on company letterhead.
  • Making an inventory of the items being moved and supervising the loading and unloading. 
  • Avoiding cash deals, even if they offer a rebate.

With files from Angela Sterritt