Millions of people move each year in the US. Most of those moves go smoothly and people are happy with their moves. However, you can have a bad experience if you are not careful. How does this happen? Unscrupulous moving company owners use shady business practices to make money at your expense. There are a growing amount of complaints against moving companies for unethical business practices. There are common scams used by some movers that are easy to avoid if you are aware of them and take some preventative steps before the move.
One of the most common scams is revising the quote on the same day of the move or during the move. The crew foreman may come up to on the day of the move, with the moving van in the driveway and tell you that the cost is going to be significantly more. They may even demand that you sign a new contract on the spot. You may have little choice if you have taken time off from work to move or have another time constraint. Some unscrupulous moving companies will even call you during the move to ask for more money. Now they have even more leverage, because your belongings are in their possession! This is a hidden threat that they now have against you. Finally, in this sequence of squeezing the customer for more cash, a scam moving company may simply refuse to unload your belongings unless you pay the extra cost in full on the spot. If you don’t pay, they can take your belongings hostage.
Overcharging and holding shipments hostage are two of the most common complaints against moving companies!
A scam is basically a fraudulent business scheme. When you contract a moving company to move your belongings, you have the expectations that they know what they are doing and deliver a fair value at a decent price. Some scam movers have no license or insurance, or registration. Avoid these like the plague. Other scam movers hire people with no skill and little concern for your belongings. Items inevitable get broken or even left behind in the move. The scam companies will not settle these claims. You may be forced to take them to court to get some of your money back.
When you are moving, these scams can ad up to a significant cost. The good news is that there are simple and effective ways to avoid hiring a scam moving company.
Protect Yourself Against Moving Scams
Things to watch out for:
- Large deposit before move.
- No local address for company
- No company website
- No BBB listing
- No or dubious references
- No license, insurance of registration
- Very low quote (bait and switch tactic)
How to avoid being scammed:
The main way to avoid being scammed is to do your homework before the move. Take a look at the list above and make sure that the moving company you are considering is reputable. Check to see if the moving company has a local address, a website, and a state license. See if your mover of choice has a listing with the BBB and good quality references. Make sure that you fully understand the payment options and risks, and that you are comfortable with them. If you do these things, you will be able to avoid being scammed by an unscrupulous moving company.