We’ve all heard horror stories about moving. Someone hired a moving company at a great price and consequently never saw their belongings again after the truck pulled away. Or they were tricked into paying way more money than they should have for moving services. Sadly, moving scams happen every day to good people. Fortunately, knowing the tricks of the trade can save you from a moving nightmare and protect you from bad moving companies.
MOST COMMON MOVING SCAMS
The two most common scams are hostage goods scams and advance deposit scams. Hostage goods scams occur when your belongings are in the possession of a moving company, usually after they have been loaded on a truck, after a price has been quoted. However, just when you think that you’re smooth sailing, the movers refuse to hand over your goods until you pay a different, higher, price. In the case of an advance deposit scam, movers will request money up-front, and then never show up on moving day.
HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF FROM A BAD MOVE
The best way to avoid a moving scam is to be aware that they exist and that they do happen. With this being said, a little research goes a long way. These simple steps will help you avoid scams and have a better, and safer moving experience.
Don’t fall for a front company – Don’t fall for rogue movers. A real moving company should have a bricks and mortar address. It’s a good idea to drive by or even stop-in at the company to make sure the address is legitimate.
Don’t give a deposit – You should not have to pay a deposit for moving services. If a mover asks for money up-front, choose a different moving company.
Don’t pay with cash – If you pay with cash, there will be no paper trail or record of a transaction. This means that there will be traceable no evidence of your payments.
Make sure the moving truck is branded – Real moving companies use real moving trucks with branding, making it less likely that scammers will drive away with your belongings.
Do not agree to a partial or “skinny” contract – Be sure you are signing a complete contract. All your goods should be listed in the agreement.
Purchase extra insurance – A good moving company will offer various types of moving insurance to protect your possessions.
Ask about the moving company’s claims policy – Should you need to file a claim, you want to be sure that it is handled correctly and in a timely manner.
If it seems too good to be true, it probably is – Remember that cheaper does not mean better. Do your research and get quotes from several different moving companies to ensure that you are getting the best moving services possible for your money.
CHOOSING A REPUTABLE MOVING COMPANY
The most important part in avoiding a moving scam is choosing a reputable moving company that you can trust. A good moving company will be professional and have experience handling household goods, so you won’t have to worry about your possessions getting lost or stolen. Professional moving companies are also organized. They can plan and provide a schedule for your move, making it a simpler process. Most importantly, a good moving company will offer fair and honest pricing and claims services, ensuring your protection and satisfaction.
For additional information on avoiding moving scams, visit http://www.protectyourmove.gov; the American Moving and Storage Association's Web site, http://www.moving.org; and http://www.movingscam.com, a user-generated site that compiles an ongoing list of alleged scam moving companies.