WATCH: Don’t Fall Victim to Moving Fraud: What to Know in SC
COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO) – Every year it’s estimated that 35 million Americans move, and summer is peak moving season. If you’re hiring movers to help get the job done, be smart about who you choose.
As you’re screening potential moving companies, always ask them for their ORS number. They’re given out by the South Carolina Office of Regulatory Staff. Legitimate companies that plan to move household goods out of a city need to have one. The office regulates prices, insurance and taxes to protect companies and consumers.
“If they don’t have that in South Carolina, that is absolutely a red flag,” Robert Marye, owner of Gentlemen Movers in Columbia said. Even so, it’s perfectly legal, so long as the company keeps its moving jobs within a municipality.
Gentleman Movers is one of the 137 businesses in South Carolina licensed through ORS.
“We’re responsible for their whole universe,” Marye, who estimates he’s done 5,000 moves in his 13 years in business, said. “It’s a momentous day on many levels, both on the physical front, and the emotional front.”
Don’t make it more emotional than it has to be. Marye stresses to make sure companies own their trucks, have employees in uniform and are using proper equipment.
“What do the people sound like when they answer the phone?” He said, “If I have to leave a message, how soon do they call me back? Anybody can form a website, make a pamphlet, rent a truck.”
ORS tells ABC Columbia it skims Craigslist for sketchy looking movers, once every three months. They say people are attracted to the “good deals” these companies claim to have, but what looks like a good deal now, could end up costing you if you’re not careful. ORS cannot help you if you’ve hired an unlicensed company to move your belongings.
If you’ve had issues with a licensed company, call ORS at 803-737-5230 (within the Columbia area) or toll-free within the state at 1-800-922-1531. Their hours of operation are 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday (except state holidays). Keep in mind: ORS does not have jurisdiction over issues involving damaged goods.