How to Spot a Moving Scam
To be able to spot a moving scam, one should approach the search for a reputable moving company very cautiously. The most effective arms against rogue movers are, actually, the pieces of information you collect by using the internet and the data on relevant websites, by reading customers’ reviews and listening carefully to the stories about the experiences of the people from your surroundings. Once you bring the process of finding the perfect family home to an end, set off for the adventure of finding a reliable mover and keep your eyes peeled. If you are not careful enough, some unpleasant surprises might ruin the whole endeavor.
Potential signs of a moving scam – How to recognize a red flag?
Whether you are moving your home or moving your business to another state, there is a standard procedure moving companies need to follow. When you are acquainted with what to expect, you can easily recognize and differentiate rogue operators from reliable movers. To help all those who haven’t had any experience in this field and yet want to complete their move successfully, here are a few hints on the things to watch out for.
A sight unseen estimate of the moving costs
Reputable moving companies always arrange in-house inspections before issuing an estimate to a potential customer. Understandably, it is impossible to define the accurate moving costs without examining the household goods personally beforehand. Otherwise, customers end up with sight unseen estimates which are the perfect beginning of misunderstandings and inconveniences.
A quick and incomplete in-house inspection
Professional in-house inspections are time-consuming. An estimator who does the job well is thorough and never forgets about details. He asks lots of questions concerning your move and your belongings, makes notes of your answers and suggestions, opens cabinets and closets and strives to collect as much information as possible. Only then can you expect to get an accurate estimate. How much will your relocation cost? Well, the estimator who is a professional will send the numbers in writing with the list of all the extra fees incurred upon you in case you choose their company. Transparency is of utter importance in winning the trust of potential clients.
A payment requested in advance
Under no circumstances will a reputable moving company demand a deposit before moving your belongings. This is a sign of a red flag. You should immediately cross this company out on the list of your potential movers.
“Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move” booklet
This is a 25-page booklet every licensed moving company is required to provide its potential customers with during the planning stage of the relocation. If you are provided with it by the companies you are considering as the final choice for your move, this means that they are serious and that they obey the federal law. Conversely, if you weren’t informed about it or offered one, forget about the company you are considering.
Hiring movers for packing services is tricky
The majority of people want to save money when moving a house and, as a result, they decide to do the packing on their own. However, there is a serious catch concerning this decision. In this case, the moving company is not responsible for any potential damage to your items. Not convenient, is it? On the other hand, there is always the alternative of hiring movers for packing services too. Then, we create ideal conditions for rogue operators to increase our expenses and earn a considerable profit for minimal work. They charge moving supplies, their labor and time, dealing with heavy furniture and specialty items. Unfortunately, if you fail to discuss the packing terms appropriately, you risk spending a fortune on this matter.
A blank contract
A blank contract, an incomplete contract or a contract written in confusing and complicated legal jargon signalizes that something is not right. Although it is highly advisable to get all the crucial details about your move in writing, pay close attention to what you are signing. The moving contract must be clear, with all the necessary information concerning your relocation, like the moving costs, extra fees, pick up and delivery dates, insurance and valuation protection. If any of these pieces of information is missing or if you have any doubts, consult an attorney and get advice from a professional.
How to protect yourself from moving scams?
Getting prepared and informed about what is ahead of you is the best solution. If you know how to protect yourself and your budget, you increase your chances of avoiding the severe consequences of doing business with rogue movers. Here are a few tips on the subject.
Make sure your potential mover is licensed and insured
Check your potential mover on the relevant websites. There, you can find crucial information that guarantees a safe and smooth relocation. We strongly suggest visiting the websites of the following organizations:
- The American Moving and Storage Association – The organization keeps the list of Pro-mover certified intrastate and interstate movers which is updated on a regular basis. If you find your potential movers on the list, this means they have met the strict criteria of the association and are safe to hire.
- The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Organization – Here, you can search for the information on safety ratings and insurance. Furthermore, you can find out whether there are any official complaints filed against the companies you are considering. Should you discover that there are numerous complaints due to delayed deliveries or repeated damage or loss of the clients’ items, it would be wise not to choose these movers.
- The Better Business Bureau – This is a non-profit organization aimed at helping people to find safe and respectable movers. The website provides the public with the ratings of moving companies based on various factors, the complaints history and all legal actions against the movers on the organization’s list.
Get valid references
The best possible option is to get references from the people you trust in your surroundings. Their positive experience proves the company’s quality and qualifies the mover as your potential choice. Unfortunately, this rarely happens, so you should search for references from other sources. A professional moving company is always willing to provide you with at least three local references to prove the quality of their service. Also, you can always check reviews on the BBB website, Google or Angie’s list.
Get all the information in writing
It is of utter importance to document everything you agree upon with your movers. Should you need to file a complaint after the delivery of your belongings, valid proof is necessary to gain proper compensation. If you are lucky enough, you won’t have to go through all this trouble. Instead, you will be searching for guides to arranging furniture in your home and enjoying the new location.