What are Some Common Moving Scams and How Can You Avoid Them?
By Richard Farrell
Special to Vanlines.com
Not everybody is completely honest, and that also applies to some moving companies, too. You need to do your research, shop around and know what to look out for in order to keep abreast of scams. Oftentimes, they deliberately undercharge you, or they present you with a low ball price and slap on extra charges later - most likely after they have your belongings loaded onto their moving truck. Follow these moving tips so that rogue movers don't ruin your moving day.
No references. Nothing speaks louder about the credentials of a mover than references. When you are meeting and interviewing movers, be sure to ask them about their professional experiences, license information and their Better Business Bureau rating and references from their customers. Call or email these customers and ask them questions about their move and their experience with the moving company. This is one of the best ways to learn more about movers, without receiving a sale.
Bad estimates. We can't stress this enough, but every time you move make sure that you get a moving estimate. This estimate essentially is a price quote -- listing what items you are moving and the cost. If the estimate seems too low, question this and ask to see the fine print. Movers should provide you with a written quote that is also the price of your move, if they don't provide you one don't use that mover.
Not binding by the estimate. Another scam that some movers are involved is not binding by the estimate. If mysterious charges start appearing and your estimate increases, don't use the moving company even if this is on moving day. You don't want to find out that your boxes are held hostage and you have to pay more money for your move.
They shouldn't ask for a deposit. Reputable removers never ask for a deposit, but they do expect payment on delivery. Be wary of a moving company that asks for a large down payment because you may never see them again. Especially beware if full advance payment is required – what incentive is there for them to complete the delivery?
Watch out for name changes. A company in the bad books of Better Business Bureau may change its name quite frequently to avoid bad references. How consistent is their stationery? Has the name on a vehicle been painted-over? How many years of experience do they have? How do they answer the phone? Small things like this provide clues to watch out for.
Be wary if they refuse to pack. Cowboy removers do not like packing them because they can be responsible for any damage to goods in them. Their tactic is to quote high so you pack your own, and then to blame you if something breaks inside, even if they dropped the box.
Not telling you about insurance. The moving company is responsible for telling you about what insurance polices they offer. The basic liability insurance covers $0.30 per pound per item, or $0.60 per pound per item for an interstate or international move. If you have valuable items, ask them different insurance policies and see if a high-value plan would be of interest to you.
Be careful always, and watch out for rogue movers. Take these precautions and do your research, it's not easy to negotiate with a moving company when they have your goods locked up inside their van.