Gloria Pugh, PMAF President
2021 has been a remarkably busy and challenging moving season. Consumer demand for our industry’s services in comparison to prior years is above-average.
As a result of the global pandemic, we are all experiencing several challenges including workforce shortages, equipment and supply shortages, and inflation among other issues. Many of us are begrudgingly turning down work due to these shortages. Regardless of these conditions, many colleagues have reported a busy, and hopefully, profitable year.
The overwhelming consumer demand coupled with the shortages described above has created an opportunity for rogue brokers and rogue movers who seek to defraud unsuspecting consumers. Please do not confuse reputable move management companies with rogue move brokers. Many of us work closely with reputable move management companies who provide valuable resources to their clients and our industry.
The Better Business Bureau of Florida and MoveRescue reported unprecedented consumer complaints this year involving move brokers. Consumers are resorting to the internet to hire moving services. Move brokers’ websites are extremely deceiving as they frequently disguise themselves as legitimate moving companies with a large fleet of trucks, plenty of 5-star reviews, and promising cheap rates. Rogue move brokers are not disclosing who they are, what they do or the fees associated for their services to consumers. It is only when a different branded company shows up on moving day that the consumer becomes aware of the rogue move broker’s deception. To make matters worse, consumers are charged additional excessive fees and frequently pay them out of desperation and fear.
Both the Better Business Bureau and MoveRescue report rogue move brokers have become extremely bold in their fees. Move brokers used to pay themselves a few hundred dollars, now fees are in the thousands.
Rogue move brokers and their associates are damaging our industry’s reputation. They are taking opportunity away from legitimate moving companies and most importantly defrauding consumers.
Currently, we are overwhelmed by the above-average consumer demand but this will eventually slow down. We cannot compete with rogue move brokers deceptive practices. Many of us have lost way too many opportunities to rogue operators such as move brokers.
As the Professional Movers Association of Florida, we must work collectively to address this fraudulent activity in our industry. We must revise our state laws to require move brokers immediately disclose their services and fees to consumers at first contact. The law needs to be revised so all advertisements including websites reflect a move broker’s disclosure front and center; immediately visible.
There is strength in numbers, we can make a difference working collectively as PMAF. We must become involved in all levels of state and federal regulation regarding the moving industry. In Florida alone, our industry is a multi-billion dollar industry. Colleagues, we contribute greatly to our state’s economy and it’s time we demand our seat at the table. We must grow our association by inviting reputable moving companies to join. Again, there is strength in numbers.
I welcome your comments and suggestions. I can always be reached via email firstname.lastname@example.org
Lastly, please join us for our next Lunch & Learn on October 19, 2021 from 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. on Zoom. The topic is Florida law relative to requirements of the Bill of Lading.
PMAF and I are committed to advocacy, education, collaboration, and celebration of our members.
Gloria Pugh, President
Professional Movers Association of Florida
& CEO, AMWAT Moving Warehousing Storage