Movearoo.com is a new website that appears to offer free assistance with your move, helping you set up things like phone service, gas, and electricity at your new address. The site calls itself “Your Total Moving Resource.” It’s a helpful site, sure, but you should be aware that it’s funded by AT&T, Verizon, and Qwest, and exists primarily to promote their services. In other words, you won’t find a comprehensive list of competing phone service providers through Movearoo, only those offered by the three sponsor companies. A consumer advocate points out the drawback of making Movearoo your sole relocation resource:
“If you go online and you only have one choice of a subsidiary of one of these companies, it’s not one-stop shopping,” [Ev Liebman of New Jersey Citizen Action] said. “It’s simply misleading. Consumers need to be aware that there are other companies providing similar services and possibly at lower prices.”
Movearoo’s sponsors disagree, saying it’s just useful advertising for their services and not misleading.
“It’s not unlike what other industries do when they provide services,” said Frank Kellam, business development manager for Verizon. “You won’t find the traditional phone companies on a similar site (cablemover.com) set up by the cable companies. It’s not unique and it’s not out of line.”
They’re right. But that’s also why you should look for more comprehensive online help when you move.
Interestingly, you don’t have to look very far: the company responsible for Movearoo’s backend has a similar site called WhiteFence.com which offers a much broader list of companies to compare. (Although we see no mention of companies like Vonage on their site.)
Do you know of other websites that offer help with moving, and aren’t just fronts for a few key players? Add them to the comments below.
“Aid or ad? New telephone hookup website blurs the line, critics say” [New Jersey Star-Ledger]