When you’re dealing with the stress and upheaval of a move, the last thing you want to deal with is a moving scam.
To help you make smart and excellent moving decisions and plans, we’ve listed some common moving scam pointers and how to identify moving scammers.
We’ve also provided information on how to avoid these scams so you can go through your move with one less concern. Read on to find out more on this!
When you hire movers, you want to be able to entrust your possessions to them, believing that they will be honest with you and get your belongings to your new location safely.
In this blog, we will discuss 10 warning signs to look out for in order to avoid moving scams.
1. Inaccurate estimate.
When a moving company provides you with a moving estimate, that quote is what you plan on paying these professionals after the move.
Most moving companies like to send a representative to your home for an in-home estimate. Moving prices are not only based on distance, but also the weight and amount of space your belongings take up.
Many homeowners also have more belongings than they may think, so a good estimator looks at your home and decide on a quote based on an estimated weight and bulk.
Some movers, though, will give you an over-the-phone estimate in an attempt to scam you without assessing your belongings physically. The final bill will be significantly higher than the original estimate because they just guessed at how large your belongings are and how much everything weighs.
Since moving costs are based on how much space your belongings use in the moving truck, how much everything weighs, and how far you have to travel, you need as precise an estimate as possible.
Look for a mover who can perform an in-home inspection and provide you with a more accurate quote.
Also, look for a moving company that offers a “Guaranteed Not to Exceed” option for estimates. Essentially, this contract guarantees that your final bill is guaranteed not to exceed 10% of the original estimate, not including additional costs like unpacking fees.
If you sign a contract with this clause in it, carefully read the fine print of the document. The fine print can contain other clauses that say the guarantee doesn’t apply if the weight of your items is more than the original quote. Find a moving company that provides you with an accurate estimate without hidden charges in the contract.
2. Request down payment.
When you work with a renowned moving company, you will only be required to pay for the moving truck and services after your belongings have been delivered to your new home.
If a mover tells you that you have to pay a large deposit or a cash deposit, don’t pay or sign for such services. These individuals could take the deposit and elope, never to show up on your moving day.
Rather, work with a company that doesn’t require you to put down cash or a large amount of money to reserve their services. Ensure to check with the moving company at least once after you reserve the truck and book the services to ensure the movers will arrive at your home on the move day and on time.
Most legitimate companies will only ask for a down payment of 20 percent or less of the full price. In fact, many movers don’t even ask for a down payment. Instead, you pay upon delivery. This way the company is held responsible for actually getting your belongings to the final destination safe and on time.
3. Multiple names.
Often when people have horrid experiences with certain companies or they are scammed, they report the moving company to the appropriate authority. This entity will then rate the given moving company poorly and this would affect its reputability.
Some sneaky moving companies change the names of their company to get around these poor ratings. When you do choose a moving company to work with, make sure they are licensed and insured to do business.
When you call, they should answer their phones with the full name of the company, and they should be able to provide you with a few references if you ask for them. You can contact these references and ask them about their experiences with the moving company.
4. Extremely Low Rates.
While a large down payment is suspicious, rates that are too low are also suspicious. Moving is not something that can be done for extremely low rates.
The company needs to pay their employees and pay for vehicle upkeep and gas. Be sure to compare the estimate you’re given to other moving companies’ estimates. Scams like these may double the price last minute and rely on you being unable to find someone else.
5. Hidden fees.
To make extra money, some companies will charge you additional fees you didn’t know you would encounter. When you receive the final bill, it should detail every individual charge that adds up to the total fee.
Examine the bill carefully, and keep an eye out for odd charges. For example, some scammers could charge you a fee if the moving van won’t fit on a narrow street. They’ll say they have to move your belongings to a smaller truck, and they’ll charge you for this transfer.
6. Blank contract.
In addition to providing inaccurate estimates, some scammers will ask you to sign a blank contract, claiming that they’re busy now but that they’ll fill in the empty spaces later.
They essentially ask you to take their word that they’ll fill in the contract with the correct information.
If you’re asked to sign a blank contract, refuse to endorse it, and find another moving company. When you do sign a filled-out contract, review it carefully. Make sure all the information matches what you and the movers have discussed. Once you sign the contract, it’s a legally binding document that will be hard to refute later on.
Any real moving company will have you sign a contract.
The contract includes details such as the delivery date, the estimated price, and needed supplies.
The contract should also specify that there are no additional and unexpected costs such as mandatory tips or a driver’s fee.
A contract is extremely important to keep your interests and belongings safe as it protects both you and the moving company.
7. No Logo.
If your movers show up on moving day with an unmarked vehicle or a rental, there may be cause for concern.
There’s no reason for a moving company to not want to put their logo on their trucks. A rolling billboard is perfect advertising while they’re getting paid to move your belongings.
If your mover can’t afford a logo and phone number on the side of a moving truck, chances are the business isn’t legitimate.
8. No Address or Office.
Most companies, including moving companies, have websites. This presence gives you the perfect opportunity to check for a possible scam.
If there’s not an address listed on the movers’ website or if the address is a P.O. box or just a city, you should question it. It’s also a good idea to check if what looks like a real address actually houses a business rather than a vacant space.
9. Many Extreme Reviews.
Ensure to check the reviews before hiring a moving company. Of course, too many negative reviews stand out as a testament of their bad service.
However, you should also keep an eye out for too many overly positive reviews as it could be a sign of false reviewers. Check out reviews on reputable moving sites before coming to a decision.
One of the ways to find out if your mover is legitimate is checking to see if they are a certified ProMover from the American Moving & Storage Association (AMSA).
The ProMover program is designed to identify “rogue movers,” giving customers a clear indicator of which companies are reputable, professional interstate movers.
10. Casual Phone Etiquette.
Any professional business will answer a phone call by clearly saying the name of the company. If a mover answers the phone with a simple “hello” or “movers”, they may not be a legitimate moving company.
However friendly and nice the movers may be, there should always be a level of professionalism in your interactions. BE WARNED!
Turn to Victory Van, your trusted moving company.
Use the tips in this blog to recognize and avoid moving scams. When you’re ready to begin your next move, get in touch with Victory Van moving Company to request professional, reliable, and beneficial moving services.
We’ll be as accurate as possible if we provide you with an estimate, and we’ll keep you updated and informed about every aspect of your move including costs-every step of the way. Contact us today!