They won’t let you move ’til they read you your rights

TORONTO — In response to a local police crackdown on fly-by-night furniture movers — and in a PR move bound to make them popular with self-righteous yuppies everywhere — Two Men and A Truck are introducing a "Moving Customers Bill of Rights."

When we say Two Men and a Truck we mean the huge franchisor; and not a couple of dudes and their five-ton.

According to a recent statement issued by the company, Two Men and a Truck (TMAAT) brass felt it was important to set an example for the industry by codifying the best practices that they already adhere to.

"It’s heartbreaking to see consumers who have been defrauded by unscrupulous moving firms," said TMAAT Canada’s COO and VP of development and operations Dan Hopkins.

"We believe our strong code of ethics can help stand as a model to others in the industry as we work to defend the integrity of honest movers to help stamp out immoral and illegal activities," he added.

The company is urging other firms to adopt similar standards who use predatory tactics with consumers. Here’s TMAAT’s Bill of Rights:

— Customers can request a written quote outlining the scope, cost per hour and have both parties’ legal rights and responsibilities explained to them in advance of a move.
— Movers adhere to the pre-move estimate and the terms provided, while also supplying an itemized invoice upon completion of the move when requested.
— Customers can request that our movers are bonded and properly trained to meet their needs, including adhering to the highest safety standards.
— Franchisees will carry all necessary insurance for the customer’s protection.
— All moving equipment will be in safe working order.
— Customers will be provided with advance notice of any unreasonable delays in pick-up or arrival of goods.
— Accurate pricing information will be used in advertisements and marketing materials.

In the event of a conflict, TMAAT customers are provided with a 24-hour hotline (1-86-moving4u) where they can speak to a customer service representative.

According to a statement from TMAAT, a recent police crackdown on alleged moving fraud perpetrated in the Toronto area by companies using a variety of illegal tactics — from overcharging customers and changing estimates mid-move, to holding goods ransom until customers pay up to triple the amounts quoted in estimates — highlighted the need to provide moving customers with basic service standards.

According to the Canadian Association of Movers, approximately 4.4 million Canadians moved last year, with nearly one in four professional moves resulting in a customer complaint.

The Canadian Council of Better Business Bureaus ranked mover-related grievances in its top 10 consumer complaints for 2009.

"This isn’t just good news for customers or for the moving industry … we think it’s the right thing to do," said Hopkins.

Currently, TMAAT has 11 franchises in Central and Southern Ontario, with future plans for the development of between 40 and 50 franchises across Canada.

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