10 Moving Scams to Avoid
Hiring professionals to transport your belongings across the country can be a very difficult decision, especially if you have always lived in the same state. There are a lot of pitfalls to look out for and if you don’t avoid them, they can cost you a lot of money. You have to be careful when choosing the moving company or else you could end up crying.
To make the entire experience more pleasant for you, we’ve compiled a list of the top 10 scams attempted by unscrupulous companies. Read on and make sure you’re prepared to tackle any oddness you encounter along your path to a new location.
- They ask for a large deposit: If the companies you’re looking into are asking you for a large cash deposit upfront, don’t go there. They’ll have your money and control over your possessions; most reputable companies will ask for the balance upon receipt instead. If you do opt for a deposit, consider putting it on a credit card: you’ll have a little more control if the company attempts to extort you at any point.
- They underestimate on specs then ask for more money: Companies who don’t come to your premises to examine your property are worth a little investigation. Legitimate movers should always be willing to send an on-site estimator who will do accurate measurements on the things you want to transport. Why should a company be so careless when the amount of property you own will affect their costs? More often than not, you’ll see a substantial extra charge later on when companies operate in this way. They just offer the lowball in the beginning and then add extras as you move along the process.
- They pack your things badly, causing them to break: If you pay for professionals to pack up your things, you expect them to be handled with care. However, if you pick the wrong company, you may find yourself with quite a few broken items instead, so ask for recommendations from people you know. Legitimate packers are specially trained and know the over 80 necessary techniques in proper packing.
- They under-insure your possessions: If some of your property is damaged in the transition (which can happen on occasion), the company ought to be liable to cover the cost. It is always worth checking out the exact nature of the insurance offered in advance to ensure you are properly covered. Take note that the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) and the law requires all moving companies to offer basic carrier liability. For interstate moves this covers $0.60 per pound per item. For local moves, the coverage will vary depending on your location. It can go down to as little as $0.30 per pound per item.
- There are no background checks or drug tests for employees or drivers: Do enquire about this before you agree to allow others to handle a lifetime of memories. If there are no proper checks in place, you risk mishandling or even worse, having your treasures stolen.One of the easiest ways to gauge the movers is to take a good glance at their men. The actual movers should be clean and presentable while at the same time, wearing proper uniform containing the name of the company they work for. It’s a simple clue on how to spot professionalism.
- They hold your possessions hostage: This is one of the most disturbingly common scams; you pay for the work to take place only to find an enormous extra charge on your bill. The company refuses to part with your things until you agree to pay. It can be a very traumatic problem to run into – so ensure the contract you sign is iron clad by reading and re-reading the small print.We’ve heard this horror story before and the rogue mover didn’t release the items until after the customer has contacted the proper authorities.
- They offer no written contract: Contracts protect both parties – so make sure you obtain one and check it over thoroughly before printing your name on the dotted line. Informal movers (usually just simple truck owners) will offer you no-fuss verbal contracts. You should avoid these as much as possible because moving is a serious business and an even more serious transaction. If they refuse to draft a contract, look for services elsewhere.
- Even worse – they attempt to make you sign a blank contract: Just don’t! This is like a blank check – so refuse it at all junctures and back out of any deals already made with any company attempting to coerce you into signing one of these paper traps!
- They frequently change their name: A common tactic to avoid Better Business Bureau (BBB) blacklisting is to change the company name, so check into the history of a company before you commit to a schedule.
- They offer you a curiously lowball quote: Nobody wants to pay a huge amount to move, but if you’re being offered a quote hundreds of dollars lower than a competitor, you need to question it. Is the figure a bait-and-switch tactic?
In some cases, these companies will ask for reasonable CASH deposits and then just disappear into thin air. They don’t cause alarms at first because you thought that the cash deposit seemed reasonable, but in reality, it was their tactic all along to put you at ease.
In the end, getting recommendations from friends and trusted associates can be the best way to ensure you get a good deal and great service. You can also seek the assistance of trustworthy online quote providers like Top Mover Quotes. Finding the best professionals need not be a headache as long as you contact legit companies and actively try to avoid the scams above. Don’t be afraid to ask the BBB for a company profile either – and if anything smells fishy, get out of there as fast as your proverbial legs will carry you.
For more information on your rights and duties when moving, you can visit www.protectyourmove.gov.