The vast majority of moving companies are legitimate, honest businesses.
They’ve stayed in operation because of high ethics and professional customer relations. That’s earned them a good reputation which is everything in the moving world. Unfortunately, there are always scam artists in the moving business. Here’s how they work and how to avoid them.
Scam #1 – Pay us more money to release your stuff
The biggest moving scam relates to movers securing your business, loading the truck with your belongings, then changing the rules and raising the price. They demand cash payment, upfront, or they refuse to release your goods.
If you don’t pay, these shady characters threaten to use a legal clause to sell off your belongings in lieu of payment – this amounts to them holding your things hostage.
Scam #2 – Oh, that’s gonna be extra
The other main moving scam is the “That’s extra” game.
It starts with a lowball estimate to secure the contract and then the prices start climbing. You’ll find out it’s extra for packing, extra for mileage, extra for storage and extra for unloading. You’ll find angles where it’s extra for two-story homes where the movers have to climb stairs or use elevators.
You’ll even get hit with extra charges where they claim to need a second smaller truck at your move-in site because of tight turns and parking.
Scam #3 – We MUST have a deposit from you
Watch out for scammers who demand deposits.
Legitimate movers never take deposits and they’re completely transparent about contract details. Be aware of movers who charge by cubic volume instead of weight. This is a sure sign of scamming as there’s no measurable control with cubic feet like there is with pounds of weight.
Also, make sure your mover provides you with a copy of the moving regulatory body’s mandatory consumer information guide. It’s called Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move and published by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
How to Avoid Scams
The first thing you should do to avoid moving scams is to be aware of them. Do your homework or due diligence. Check out the main forms of moving scams on the internet. There are plenty of sites and stories.
Their whole intention is to make as much money from gullible or vulnerable people as they can. Being a well-informed consumer and being aware of scammers is your first line of defense.
Vet the Company
The other responsible step to avoid getting ripped off is to vet the moving company thoroughly. Check out how long they’ve been in business. Inquire with associations like the Better Business Bureau. Do some online snooping and always read the reviews, there are plenty of places these days you can find reviews.
Evaluate the Moving Company Rep
Watch what happens when a company representative arrives to make an estimate. How thorough do they seem?
Do they go through everything you own and have an obvious estimating system? Or, do they give a cursory look and quickly present you with a figure that seems low and has no written guarantee. Use your gut feeling. Does the company pass the smell test or does their offer seem too good to be true?
Ultimately, the best way to avoid a moving scam is to work with a reputable company. It might seem like you’re paying more but you can be assured there’s no monkey business. You get what you pay for in moving like anything else. You just shouldn’t be scammed into paying too much. Get a moving quote today from professional moving consultants and experienced movers.