Common Moving Scams and How to Avoid Them
Moving scams are now becoming common compared to some years ago because anyone can easily create a website, buy or rent a couple of trucks and make themselves a moving company. If you are planning to move soon, it’s essential for you to be aware of what the most common scams are and how to avoid them.
If you are asked for a large cash deposit
Security deposits are often demanded by every mover, especially during peak season or where many homeowners are moving. However, it’s always important to do some research before putting down a cash deposit as this is one of the most common moving scams. Always be aware of a moving company when they ask for a large cash deposit because they can take your money and disappear. To avoid this scam – talk to your real estate agent, they can help you find a reliable moving company that won’t ask for a deposit.
If a moving company is asking an increase of the moving cost
If a mover asked an unexpected price increase, it’s a scam, and maybe you can’t avoid it anymore when this happens at your new location. In this situation, the mover usually offers you a very low moving price estimate. As the rate is likely more economical than any other price estimate you receive, you may be tempted to accept the offer.
Here’s the problem! When you arrived at your new place, the movers will ask for an increase in the moving cost. They will cite extra charges, hidden fees, or several other reasons for demanding more money. When you fall into this scam, you could very well end up paying more than you would typically pay a higher estimate from a reputable company.
To avoid this scam – always get an in-home estimate from several potential movers so that they can provide you an accurate estimate for the cost of your move. If possible, ask for an agreement that the price should not exceed moving estimate to avoid any additional charges.
Holding goods hostage
If the moving company demands a price-increase scam as mentioned above, they may keep your goods in the truck until you pay them the money they ask for. Without giving you a specific reason why you owe them more money, they can hold your goods hostage or threaten to run away with your goods until you pay them the additional cost they are demanding.
To avoid this scam – check the company’s track record. Look up the company’s profile and see if there have been any complaints filed against them
There may be some movers that will try to pass themselves off as legitimate moving company when they are actually unregistered and operating illegally. Even if these companies may not scam you directly, they are still doing illegal business.
If their operations are stopped by police intervention due to some complaints in the middle of your move, your goods might be taken and held as evidence. There is no guarantee that your goods will be brought to your new home.
To avoid this scam – make sure that the moving company provides you with their USDOT number, then check the FMCSA website to find out if the registration is still active, and if not, they run the business illegally.
Be careful with movers that entice you to use their services by offering a blanket insurance policy; they may not be a legitimate company. Because most of the reputable moving companies don’t provide insurance coverage. Instead, insurance is purchased from a third party. Any mover offering complete coverage is not doing business legally. If something happens to your goods during the move, you’re unlikely to receive compensation for your belongings, despite the promise of blanket insurance by the mover.
To avoid this scam – make sure to confirm that everything is documented correctly. Legitimate moving companies will make documentation and give you copies of all the paperwork.
Do not rely on quotes that are sent over the phone. There may could be a change in the moving cost on moving day. If you base the moving cost on a phone estimate, you won’t meet anyone from the company until moving day. Remember that the price of moves often is based on the weight of your goods, a factor that needs to be determined in person.
To avoid the scam – obtain at least three written in-home estimates (not over-the-phone estimates) before making a decision.