Moving Scams to Look Out for When Hiring a Moving Company
July 19th, 2022
You don't want to waste time and money on moving scams when you move. Unfortunately, with all the moving scams out there, it can be hard to know who to trust with your belongings while you move from place to place. If you're moving soon and are wondering how to choose the right moving company, here are some things you should be on the lookout for when hiring movers in order to avoid common scams that many companies try to pull on their customers.
Get Quotes From at Least 3 Companies
When you're getting quotes from different companies, make sure you're comparing apples to apples. Some things to look for:
- Are they binding estimates?
- Do they have a USDOT number?
- What kind of truck will they be using for your move?
- Are they an interstate mover or just local?
- Google their company name and see if there are any complaints against them.
- Check out their website and see how professional it looks.
A reputable moving company will be happy to answer all of your questions and should make you feel comfortable with the entire process. If something feels off, it's probably a red flag.
Avoid Cash Payments
The first step in avoiding moving fraud is to be aware of the most common scams in the industry. One of the most common scams is when movers request cash payments instead of using credit cards or rental trucks.
By law, Movers must give you a written estimate of all charges before they begin moving your belongings. If the movers insist on being paid in cash, this is a red flag that they may be trying to scam you.
Another common scam is when movers hold your belongings hostage until you pay them an additional fee. This is called bait and switch, and it's illegal.
If you think you've been the victim of a moving scam, file a complaint with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
Before you sign any contracts, demand references from the moving company, not just the company's website or a random Google review. A professional mover should be able to provide you with multiple recent references from satisfied customers. If the mover is part of a larger moving industry association, they may also have customer reviews and complaints on file.
Before you hire a moving company, be sure to do your research. Compare prices between different companies and make sure you understand the charges. Some moving companies may give you a low estimate to get your business but then charge hidden fees. Be sure to ask about fees for things like interstate moving, stairs, and fuel surcharges.
Check Reviews Online
When you're looking for a moving company, checking reviews online is a great way to weed out the good from the bad. But even then, you need to be careful. Some companies will post fake positive reviews to try and lure you in. So, how can you tell if the reviews are real? Look for red flags like:
- The company only has positive reviews
- The reviews are all from the same time period
- The reviews are short and lack detail
- The reviewer seems fake or too good to be true
If you see any of these red flags, do some more research on the company before hiring them.
Watch Out for Extras
One way scammers will try to get more money from you is by offering extra services once they're already on the job. They may say your home is larger than expected and charge you for the extra time it will take to move your belongings. Or they may offer to clean your carpets or pack fragile items for an additional fee. If you didn't agree to these services ahead of time, don't pay for them now.
It's that time of year again when many people are preparing to move. And while there's a lot to think about during this process, one thing you shouldn't have to worry about is getting scammed by your moving company. Be sure to research each potential company before hiring them, and remember: If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is!
Long Island's Moving and Storage Blog