brokerIn recent years, more and more moving brokers have sprung up on the Web. These companies usually do not own or operate any trucks, or employ movers; they simply collect a deposit and arrange for a moving company to handle your move.

The problem with such arrangements is that you have no control over who actually performs the work. Since the broker chooses the mover, you may get stuck with an inferior outfit. And because the broker typically collects its fee up front, it may be uninterested in mediating disputes with the mover.

Even worse, the American Moving & Storage Association has found that some brokers mainly work with unlicensed or otherwise disreputable moving companies. And over the course of the last several years, consumer agencies have received a sharp increase in complaints about moving brokers, many filed by consumers whose brokers contracted with rogue movers that refused to honor price estimates once the truck reached its destination.

Our advice: Stay away from the Internet when shopping for a mover. If a moving company can’t be reached via phone, or won’t come to your home to provide an on-site written estimate, don’t trust it with your belongings.