Woman warns others after bad moving company experience

Investigations

AUSTIN (KXAN) — You’ve heard the statistic, and certainly feel it on the roads: More than 100 people move to Austin every day, which is why picking a moving company, even if it’s just to go across town, is so important. 

One woman reached out to KXAN Investigates, saying she was given one estimate and then had to pay nearly $2,000 more in order to get her things. 

She’s gone to great lengths to try to prove she shouldn’t have had to and now says she wants to warn others. 

“Because I had such good experiences with movers in the past, I thought that’s how it always goes,” Viktoria Meyerhoff, who moved to Austin from Indianapolis.

But she can’t say the same after working with United Relocation Movers LLC, based in St. Louis, Missouri. 

Standing in the midst of moving boxes in her north Austin apartment, it’s clear, “I haven’t had much time to really get my life together and unpack.” 

Meyerhoff says the problems started when an estimate from a broker didn’t match the moving company’s estimate. 

“They stated it once they already had possession of all of my belongings,” she said. 

The difference was about 2,000 pounds, costing her nearly $2,000 more. 

“If I did have 6,500 pounds worth of items, I would be OK with paying the extra money. The problem is, my things didn’t weigh that much,” Meyerhoff said. 

So she decided to prove it, she told KXAN, by hiring a second moving company to actually reweigh her things. 

“We did go to the scale together and I found out all my items actually only weighed 2,940 pounds,” Meyerhoff said. “I mean, how many people know how much their stuff weighs?” 

KXAN spoke with Jonathan McGor over the phone, from United Relocation Movers.

The company says it over-estimates the weight to be on the safe side, and stands by what it told Meyerhoff — that she had more weight on top of their larger estimate.

The company says, in the contract, the total estimate for service is not a guarantee of the final total charged, and that the bottom line is she signed the contract. 

“We explained this to the customer,” McGor said, saying they’re not there to rip people off. “A lot of customers want to just be in a hurry and sign this.” 

But Meyerhoff still doesn’t buy it, which is why she paid more money to reweigh her belongings. 

“This is not just a personal problem for me, it happens to so many people,” Meyerhoff said. “I just wanted to warn people and make sure that it doesn’t happen to others.” 

Meyerhoff says the Austin Police Department suggested she file a civil suit. She’s also filed complaints with the state and federal government. 

With so many options when it comes to moving companies, you want to make sure you’re picking the right one.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration says there are several red flags to look for.

Those include if the mover doesn’t agree or offer an onsite inspection, the moving company demands cash or a large deposit before the move, the mover does not provide a written estimate, or the mover claims, “You’ve got more stuff than estimated!”

In that case, the FMCSA says, “be sure the mover provides a revised estimate that you both sign listing the additional items and/or services as well as a price that you both have agreed to and signed BEFORE they begin packing or loading. They should also provide you a copy of this new estimate.” 

The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles also has an online tool to make sure your moving company is properly licensed in Texas. You can also use this link to file a complaint or check a complaint history. 

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