BEWARE: Woman says movers ripped her off

In a FOX 32 special report: how to avoid a moving nightmare.

We're in the middle of peak season for moves right now and that means it's primetime for less-than-reputable companies to try and take your money or valuables.

“I feel like he took advantage of me,” said Karen Plunkett.

Plunkett moved last fall, but says her problems with her movers started as soon as they entered the front door.

“I was quoted one price, but when they got through, the men came in the house and told me I owed them $900 dollars more,” Plunkett said.

Plunkett also says her jewelry box was damaged.

"That was precious,” she said.

And worse…

“My designer purses were stolen,” she said.

She says she found the mover through her realtor, but never did research on her own.

“I was feeling mad, angry, because, I hired you to move me. I trusted you,” Plunkett said.

“I think consumers, overall, in my 30 years of experience, don't take the time necessary to check out a mover,” said Steve Bernas of the BBB.

Steve Bernas with the Better Business Bureau says most people don't move often, and are surprised by what's covered -- or not covered -- in a move.

For instance, most movers insure your possessions by the pound.

“If they drop a lighter TV, guess what, it might be a dollar, three dollars to replace it,” he said.

In order to protect yourself, start by getting estimates from three movers and check each company's credentials.

“When they say they're licensed, you've got to make certain they're licensed,” Bernas said.

After you decide on a company, have the mover come to your house and see exactly what needs to be moved. Then ask for a binding contract, which means the company can't charge you more on the day of the move.

“I think people should know, who you hire, who you entrust your things to,” Plunkett said.

A hard lesson Plunkett says she won't repeat.

“Check out everybody, because that's what I'm going to do from now on,” she said.

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