Fake News! – Take 2: Moving and Storage
We thought we would follow up on last winter’s blog on Fake News in the relocation sphere. This time, we focus the use of misleading content, manipulated context or false connections in the business of moving of household goods.
Fake News – Tariff discounts
Movers that present the highest tariff discounts are offering the best price.
There was a time when tariffs were fairly similar across the industry. They were set through government regulation or tariff bureaus, and comparing discounts would provide a good indication of each supplier’s cost. This is no longer the case. Base tariffs used by movers can differ greatly, requiring a detailed analysis in order to determine the best offer. The reality is that much of the opportunity for cost savings when moving household goods can be found through the management of accessorial charges that are never outlined in estimates, e.g. additional crating, stair carries, long carries and shuttles. As an alternative, simplified tariffs would bundle all accessorial fees into the transportation rates. The mover would then then be responsible for managing those additional charges rather than having the client sort it out and determine what was justified or not.
Fake News – 10% guarantees
Movers provide a level of cost control by guaranteeing their invoices to within 10% of their estimate.
This sounds great up front but we have found that among movers there is an increasingly common practice of artificially inflating estimates to avoid having to refund overages. In the end, this provides no real advantage; it inflates anticipated moving costs and makes shipments vulnerable to “weight bumping” as described in our previous “Fake News!” blog.
Fake News – Loss and damage ratios
Claims of very low loss and damage ratios (‘under 10%’ or a very low percentage) demonstrate quality service.
Movers handle very fragile items and large cumbersome pieces, and transport them great distances, so it is understood that some damage or loss, though frustrating, is always a possibility. A review of these ratios should be done with a clear understanding of the mover’s definition of a “claim” as used in their calculations. Some do not include tailgate cash settlements (where the unloading driver offers cash to the customer to cover damages). It is also common not to include settlements paid when another mover was subcontracted to service the shipment. The omission of these transactions means that the loss and damage ratio promoted may not be fully indicative of their track record.
Fake News – Service locations
Vast geographical outreach offered when stating “100 locations worldwide” or “Canada wide service”.
Providing services to a wide range of distant locations is an important requirement for many organisations. How moving companies market this feature of their business can lead to some misunderstandings and dissatisfaction, or worse.
This claim can mean that the supplier has locations worldwide staffed by their own employees and located within a full service facility, or it may mean that they have alliances through van line contracts and associations, such as FIDI or IAM, which gives them access to a number of other member companies worldwide. On the other hand, this claim could also be made by an unaffiliated mover that sources services worldwide through internet searches, opening the door to all kinds of serious risks.
The above are just four among many moving supplier marketing pitches that can be misleading. An assessment of current or prospective moving suppliers must include probing questions about these claims and practices. Otherwise, you could find yourself crying “Fake News!”