Four key ways to avoid moving day disasters

PHOENIX - Hiring a moving company that you can trust isn't always easy.

You're not just paying a lot of money, you're literally turning all of your possessions over to strangers.

So hoping you've hired a good company isn't good enough.

Sonja Cook thought she found one to help her move cross country.

"They were supposed to come in and wrap my stuff up and take it out to the truck," said Cook.

She even paid them a $600 deposit toward the $1,800 total. But she says the night before moving day, the company called to say there was a problem.

"We don't have space on your truck, we are going to have to move your move date," Cook explained.

Then she says they tried to hustle even more money out of her.

"They then said we can get you another truck, but it's going to cost you more money," said Cook.

Sonja had enough.

She canceled the movers, filed a dispute with her credit card company and called in family and friends to help her move on time.

Sonja is one of the lucky ones. Because the moving company eventually agreed to refund her money. But that's not always the case.

So before paying someone for your move:

Check for complaints online. Google the business name. Run their registration number through the US Department of Transportation. You can do that here .

Movingscam.com suggests finding out if the company you are paying is the company that's actually doing the move, or if they are subcontracting it out. Liabilities can change when a separate business is hired, so if something happens to your stuff you may not be covered.

The Better Business Bureau adds not to agree to phone estimates. The company needs to take inventory in-person, for an accurate cost estimate.

Make sure the contract includes a "maximum" price that they cannot exceed.

Finally, you may want to get insurance for your valuable items or take them with you if you can.

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