A Richland moving company operating without a permit was ordered by the state to cease operations on May 15.
An administrative law judge at the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission fined Smoother Mover, owned by Matthew Twiggs of Richland, $5,000, and suspended $4,500 of it for two years, if it complies and gets a permit.
The commission is the state's watchdog agency in charge of enforcing consumer protection and safety regulations for more than 200 residential moving companies operating within the state.
The commission urges Washington residents to do their homework before hiring a moving company:
w Verify the mover's permit and complaint history with the UTC by calling 360-664-1160.
w Compare costs by getting at least two written estimates.
w Check online reviews and complaints about the mover.
w Know the mover's full name, address and phone number.
w Get a written, signed inventory list from the company of all belongings being loaded.