Newest search queries should worry relocation product and service providers
A lot has happened within the relocation arena since Moving and bed bugs
was first published in December, 2009. It has become the second most visited article at RELO Roundtable.
No doubt its popularity is driven by all the media hype, public service and health warnings, and government reactions to the growing number bed bugs outbreaks being reported in corporate workplaces, public buildings, and retail shopping outlets and eateries.
As the bed bug threat has been swept out of the bedroom and into the public spotlight, concerns about a possible outbreak issue have changed among some consumers planning a relocation.
Initially, the article grew in popularity among visitors trying to keep their personal effects or family belonging from being infested by personnel, material or moving equipment used to complete a local or long distance relocation.
The analytics tools installed at the various sites where RELORT's content is published or shared, however, now show a definite change in the volume and slant of the terms and phrases being entered into the various search engine toolbars.
How do I move WITH bed bugs?
Before, the goal was to keep the threat of bed bugs out of their homes. Now it appears that some of the moving industry's new customers want to see how they can either avoid detection OR curtail the threat to stop the spread of the little pests that have already contaminated their own household goods and personal effects.
Instead of buying plastic bags to prevent bed bugs and their larvae from invading their overstuffed furniture and bedding, it now appears some are being purchased to keep them locked in.
This change of perspective not only has serious implications for the domestic and international relocation industry's full service and do-it-yourself (DIY) moving and storage service providers, but also for each of their future customers who might be exposed to the threat when the same manpower, equipment and shipping containers are used to move them.
SEARCH: Movers + Bed Bug Policies (enter)
During the last twenty-four months, many visitors came by way of a generic search on bed bugs and moving. Some were looking for history of complaints about a particular mover's or national van line's experience and reaction to the problem. More recently, the different search engine queries contain the terms 'movers' and 'bed bug policies”.
Apparently the concern isn't just about detection any more, but liability. Based on the gist of the search queries used, potential customer aren't just looking for information to protect themselves and their families from being exposed to the hard-to-detect critters.
Instead, some want to ensure that:
They won't be held financially responsible if their bed bug problem results in a remediation or eradication expense incurred by their service provider, other relocating customers, or homeowners/renters residing in the same building or property they do.
They can file a property damage claim against the company to have their relocation product or moving service provider pay to have their home eradicated of their pre-existing infestation problem.
They're consumer rights are outlined and protected under the company's formal 'bed-bug liability policy'.
Industry Guidance Needed
Very little information has been shared throughout the relocation industry after several moving and storage and real estate trade associations, some national van line reps, and a few third party relocation service providers and their corporate clients participated in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Second National Bed Bug Summit in February. While there is a lot of useful information available, it doesn't appear to be effectively communicated or deployed.
Although movers didn't create the problem, the real and perceptual issues surrounding bed bugs in the relocation process should be publicly address sooner rather than later. Otherwise it might become a very expensive legal lesson in domestic and international carrier liability.
That's a black eye some sneaky, guileful consumers apparently intend to deliver but the moving industry should want to avoid.
Using a personal bed bug detector when moving – RELO Roundtable
Bedbugs may play role in spread of drug-resistant bacteria MRSA, study finds - The Washington Post
Movers participate in EPA’s National Bedbug Summit – RELO Roundtable
Moving? Cheap bed bug protection – RELO Roundtable
Bedbug Disclosure – Insurance Information Institute
What matters most when planning a move? – RELORoundtable
Bed bugs are back! – New York State Integrated Pest Management Program/ Cornell University
Bed Bug Fact Sheet – Cornell University Insect Diagnostic Laboratory
How to Move and Leave Bed Bugs Behind – Michigan Bed Bug Working Group
Stop Bed Bugs – New York City Department of Sanitation
Bedbug Lawsuits Growing – CNET TV (video)
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