BBB: Selling Your Car, Moving-Scam Advice

April 12, 2012 4:26:08 AM PDT
Following a few simple rules when selecting a mover will go a long way toward protecting against potential scams this moving season.

If you have questions for Steve Bernas of the BBB, email

The Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois (BBB) recommends doing homework before selecting a mover.

As we approach the busiest time of the year for changing residences, the BBB encourages consumers to know their rights and the red flags of moving scams. The BBB serving Chicago and Northern Illinois received 471 complaints during this last 12 month period compared to 354 in the previous 12 months or an increase of 33%. "Anyone can claim to be a mover, so checking a mover's credentials is critical and easy to do," said Steve J. Bernas, president & CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and northern Illinois. "Know your rights, and take necessary precautions before turning your precious belongings over to a mover."

The BBB offers the following checklist for finding a trustworthy moving company:

Research the company thoroughly. While state regulations vary, all interstate movers must, at minimum, be licensed by the federal government and are assigned a motor carrier number you can verify. Get a free BBB Business Review on movers from across North American, including ratings and complaint information at

Get at least three written in-home estimates. Not all price-quotes online or over the phone are legitimate. Keep in mind that the lowest estimate can sometimes be an unrealistic low-ball offer, which can cost you more in the end. Get free quotes from BBB Accredited Businesses at

Know your rights. Research your rights as a consumer for interstate moves or for moves within Illinois. Also, enlist the help of BBB or local law enforcement if the moving company fails to live up to its promises or threatens to hold your belongings hostage.

Consider getting full-value protection. It may cost a few dollars more up front, but it may provide some peace of mind and eliminate a headache after your move. Investing in full (replacement) value protection means any lost or damaged articles will be repaired or replaced, or a cash settlement will be made to repair the item or to replace it at its current market value, regardless of age. Bernas added, "More than 48,000 people contacted the Chicago BBB about movers in the past 12 months. Those kind of numbers show the importance of researching a company before doing business with them."

For more consumer news you can trust and to check out a mover near you, visit

Selling Your Car - Avoid Pitfalls by Checking These Tips From The Better Business Bureau

When looking to sell your vehicle you need to know how to get your car into the right hands. The Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and northern Illinois (BBB) recommends following a few key pointers to ensure that you avoid scams and make sure your sale goes smoothly.

"If the buyer asks you to wire money or avoids meeting you face-to-face, steer clear," said Steve J. Bernas, president & CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and northern Illinois. "Never give too much personal information to the potential buyer. In some scamming situations, the buyer will send a check for an amount greater than the asking price, and ask you to wire him back the difference. If the buyer's check bounces, you're out the money you wired."

When working with a potential buyer, the BBB recommends considering the following:

Communicate with the potential buyer. Don't rely solely on email conversations. Meet face-to-face and be open and honest about your car's conditions. Many times buyers are good at vetting a car's conditions and will turn down your offer if it's not all you say it is. Keep all records of service so that the buyer can see proof that you have cared for the vehicle.

First impressions matter. Consider getting the car cleaned and tuned up. By investing in the time to let them test ride your car, you'll know that the buyer is serious about making an offer.

Don't overshare. Make notes for yourself that you can refer to while on the phone with a potential buyer. Keep them handy for when it comes time to talk about the car's maintenance history. When meeting with the buyer, meet in a neutral, well lit location. Don't give them your home address.

Seal the deal. Give the potential buyer ample time to ask questions. This will help avoid problems in the future. Once you feel confident that you shared all of the details about the car, it will be time to start talking money. Also, always be honest with the buyer on the car's conditions.

For more consumer tips you can trust, visit