WACO, Texas — The Better Business Bureau is investigating Waco-based moving company Superior Vanlines after it received 20 complaints and negative reviews on its website.
The BBB said customers from around the U.S. said their property was damaged during moves and the company didn't meet its estimated dates for moves.
Some reviewers even said it took more than a month after the promised delivery date to get their stuff. Customer Bruce Hanon said he paid Superior Vanlines more than $8,000 to move his family's belongings from Arizona to Michigan, yet the delivery truck came 52 days late with more than a third of his belongings broken or missing.
“We found missing things like my high-end audio equipment, tools, pressure washer, clothes, book shelves, even our sons bed," Hanson said.
Hanson told BBB Superior Vanlines encouraged him to submit a claim for the damaged and missing items.
“We figure a conservative total of $45,000 loss and their claims service only offered $204," Hanon said. “One would expect with the thousands of dollars I paid for the move that my items would have been professionally packed."
Although the business marketed itself as a full-service moving company, customers told BBB their stuff was picked up and moved in personal cars, rental vehicles and unmarked trucks. Some customers even said their items were delivered by third-party shipping companies.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), interstate carriers can't raise the price of a binding estimate after loading a consumer's items. Despite this, customers said Superior Vanlines increased their binding estimates after their items were loaded onto moving trucks.
Ashley Lucas moved from Texas to Virginia with the company, and she told BBB the company raised her binding estimate by thousands of dollars once the movers had her property.
"They said they wouldn’t deliver my items if they weren’t paid,” Lucas said. “I found myself unable to sleep due to a panic attack over how this move has gone so horribly wrong.”
BBB said it found through social media posts, shared addresses, payment receipts and customer interviews that Superior Vanlines appeared to be linked to other moving companies based out of Las Vegas.
West Coast Movers was one of those companies, and BBB said it's listed as out-of-service and doesn't operate per FMCSA rules. The BBB said it obtained copies of Superior Vanlines' Bill of Lading and Order of Service, and the documents referenced Clark County Nevada multiple times.
The Bill of Lading had a clause reading "I agree to waive my right to file any claims/complaints with the Better Business Bureau as all claims or complaints will be handled in accordance with section 8 of this contract."
According to the Consumer Review Fairness Act, this kind of clause is prohibited.
BBB said it reached out to Superior Vanlines about customers' complaints. The company said its contracts state that after 30 business days, customers are reimbursed $25 for every business day items are late. BBB said it contacted multiple customers who said they never received the compensation.
The company also told BBB that damaged items are common in the moving industry and it offers claims coverage required by law to customers. It denied all accusations about binding estimates.
Superior Vanlines also told BBB it contacted with West Coast Movers in the past, but has no more affiliations with it or other businesses. BBB said it found records connecting Nevada addresses of other moving companies to Superior Vanlines.
The company did not respond to BBB's second request for comments.
Following BBB's investigation, Superior Vanlines website is no longer active, and its address was changed from Waco, Texas to Henderson, Nevada, according to FMCSA.
When hiring a moving company for an interstate move, consider these tips:
- Be sure you receive all required documents. Moving companies are required by federal regulations to provide customers with a copy of Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move booklet, a copy of FMCSA’s Ready to Move brochure, an estimate, order for service, bill of lading and inventory list.
- Spot the red flags:
- Requests for cash or a large deposit before the move.
- The mover does not offer or agree to an onsite inspection of your goods.
- The mover’s website has no local address, no information on their registration and answers telephone calls with “Movers” or “Moving company” rather than their official company name.
- The company arrives in a rental truck rather than a company-owned truck on moving day.
- The mover claims you have more stuff than was previously estimated.
- Verify the mover has proper licensing. All interstate household good movers must be registered with the Federal government. Verify the mover you are considering has a U.S. DOT number, sufficient level of insurance and is registered with FMCSA to engage interstate transportation of household goods.
- For movers traveling within your state, verify the mover is registered with your states DMV.
- Understand the type of liability/insurance you are agreeing to. If 60 cents per pound is not enough coverage, your mover must offer you the option of Full Value Protection, which will provide you with the replacement value of lost or damaged goods