All About Moving Scams And How To Avoid Them
According to data from the U.S. Department of Transportation, over 40 million families move on a yearly basis. Most of these moves run hassle-free and with zero incidents. However, there is a constantly increasing number of complaints filed against moving companies all around the country each year. If you are looking for a reliable mover for an upcoming relocation, you should know a few tips on how to avoid being scammed by a dishonest company. Moving house is, without a doubt, one of the most stressful events in a person’s life, and good movers can help significantly ease the process, cut the risk of damaged goods, delays and any other unfortunate events that could interfere with the natural course of a move. Scammers, on the other hand, can turn any move into a living hell.
One of your best bets against a moving scam is holding the right information in your hands. Without further ado, here are a few of the most popular types of moving scams and how to quickly identify them when dealing with a new mover.
The Mover Isn’t Interested In An On-Site Inspection
Movers who aren’t very keen on scheduling an on-site inspection of the items you plan on moving to your new address should be handled with extra attention. The main reason for this is because the estimates you usually receive over the phone sound too good to be true – and this is exactly the case. Movers will rarely be able to deliver their services at the initially agreed rates, since homeowners usually provide wrong estimates for their belongings in terms of weight, number or square feet.
Movers who do not ask for a home inspection of all the goods you plan on moving will be simply offering you an excellent estimate on purpose, in an attempt to trick you into giving them your business. A reliable mover will always focus on the bulk and weight of a load, as well as on specific items that are more sensitive to pack and carry. Mileage is a contributing factor to the final bill you will be charged, but it is not a unique element movers used when calculating their estimates. The space that your prized possessions will take up inside the moving trucks and vans will also establish the price you should expect to pay.
The Shallow Inspection
If you do come across a mover who is willing to come over and take a look at the things you plan on moving, pay attention to the way he completes his estimate. A quick walk-through with zero attention to the actual details will not suffice. Experienced movers know they need to check the contents of cabinets and closets and write down everything they see in order to provide you with a clear and realistic quote. If you notice the mover you plan on hiring does not ask any helping questions in the process, they are probably scammers waiting to take your money and provide you with poor service. Expect a reliable mover to ask you if you plan on moving all of your food supplies in the pantry and whether you want to donate or sell some of your clothes and furniture.
There are thousands of moving scammers dispersed all around the country, and many of them are known to give quotes that are too small and hold items hostage, asking hundreds of dollars in cash in order ti deliver the belongings. Know how to spot them from a distance and steer clear from them. If you are not satisfied with the on-site inspection and the quote you receive, look for a different company.
Large Deposits Prior To The Move
Another red flag to pay attention to is when a mover is asking for a relatively large cash deposit before they even get a chance to inspect your home and initiate the packing/truck loading/moving. Most reputable moving companies will require you to pay once they will finish delivering all of your items, as agreed. Paying upfront means having no control over your possessions and the exact time when you will see them again. To make sure you do not fall into the trap of these moving scammers, never agree to make any upfront payments. Also, use a credit card when making your payment, if possible, to discourage any fraudulent activities.
The Name Change Scam
Lots of moving scammers are into the habit of changing their name once very few months, trying to scam more people and avoid having their masks pulled down by their previous victims. They do business using new names and they usually avoid revealing their business address. When they answer their customer support numbers, they do not provide their exact company name or provide any licensing or insurance details. Anything that sounds too generic should ring some bells and make you think twice about hiring them.
Ask for references from friends and acquaintances or get in touch with customers who have left public reviews on the social media pages of the respective companies. See what it is that has made them regret hiring the company you are planning on using and whether they would recommend them to you. If you suspect a company is using different names and state or federal license numbers, write them all down and do a search online. The Better Business Bureau is a good place where you can find out everything you need to know about a certain company and their relationship with customers. It is also possible to call the government’s consumer complaints hotline at 1 (888) 368-7238 and find out more about the history of the companies you are interested in.
In case you cannot find any recommendations, you can get a list of trustworthy movers association such as the State Associations of Movers. Keep in mind that the federal law requires movers to provide you with a booklet consisting of your rights and responsibilities while planning your move. If the mover you have selected does not provide you with a booklet, you should think twice about giving them your business.