There are many individuals who make their living by preying on unsuspecting people who are vulnerable. Dishonest people use a variety of different kinds of schemes to cheat others out of their money and valuables. Unfortunately, that can include unscrupulous moving companies that take advantage of customers who are unaware of some of the tricks that can be perpetrated on them.
Below are moving scams you should look out for;
1. Cheap quotes: A mover who gives you a quote without first looking at what you have to move should raise some red flags. These quotes are often too good to refuse. But people often underestimate the amount of stuff they have and end up having to pay the difference when the calculated weight and mileage of the move end up being more than the estimate. Shady moving companies often provide lower than normal quotes for service in order to lure customers. Once the customer pays their deposit, chances are the company representative will disappear. Or, if the company shows up for the move, they may demand additional money to complete the move. It’s always a good idea to get multiple price quotes from different moving companies.
2. False business names: Some moving companies are able to keep scamming people because they routinely change their business names. Make sure the company you use has a local address and is properly registered. Request references, be it, former customers or community partners. Don’t hesitate to ask lots of questions.
3. Indefinite quotation date: If the quote provided doesn’t expire, be leery of the possibility of a scam. Almost all price quotes expire, regardless of the industry.
4. False references: You may be savvy enough to ask for references when shopping around for movers, but many companies have come up with an easy way to provide fake references. They simply create a website with fictitious testimonials written by their own employees or by paid writers using false names, and use these to pull the wool over potential customers’ eyes. So, don’t be too trusting! Ask for a number of references from actual people – call each of them in person to get the details about their moving experiences. You can also check the Yellow Pages, research the company through the BBB or AMSA, or read online reviews of these movers from websites they don’t control.
5. Fine print: Be very alert when scheduling your move and be sure to not only read all of the mover’s paperwork but understand it! You will most certainly find out that the fine print includes a clause or two clarifying that the “guaranteed” price is subject to change under specific conditions. Many common moving company scams are based on this simple trick that allows the movers to charge you extra for a variety of additional services, complications, etc. Make sure all your requirements, as well as any negotiated terms and specific conditions, are clearly stated on your Bill of Lading before signing it, and never sign a blank or incomplete document. If you do, the movers can just fill in a price to their liking.
6. Sight unseen estimates: It’s possible for a moving company to offer a rough idea of what to expect with moving costs. However, they should always insist upon an in-person inspection. Movers need to see the size of your apartment, the volume of things you have, and the layout of your building in order to give an appropriate estimate. Anyone who says it’s totally unnecessary is probably a moving scam in action
Major Takeaways for Avoiding Moving Company Scams
– Don’t hire a company that won’t provide a preliminary quote.
– Don’t compare companies solely based on their prices—consider years of operation as well as any additional services the company may offer. You should also be leery if a quote is too good to be true.
– Never pay more than 20% of the total moving price as a security deposit.
– Try not to pay in cash. Instead, use a credit card and get documentation for added protection.
– Never sign blank documents.
– Don’t allow a moving company to load your belongings if they initiate a price change before loading the moving truck.