Watch out for when hiring a moving company. By being aware of these scams and warning signs, you can protect yourself and ensure a smooth and trustworthy moving experience.
Bait and Switch Pricing:
One of the most prevalent moving scams is bait and switch pricing. Rogue operators provide you with a low estimate or promise to beat any other company’s quote. However, once your possessions are loaded onto their van, they significantly increase the price, claiming you had more items than estimated. These dishonest movers may demand upfront payment, sometimes amounting to thousands of dollars. Refusal to pay may lead to your property being stolen and sold at auction.
Spurious Extra Charges:
In this scam, movers provide you with an initial estimate, but once they have your belongings, they add numerous additional costs. These additional charges can triple the original estimate, rendering it invalid. To retrieve your items, the movers demand that you pay the inflated amount, or they threaten to sell your belongings at auction.
Property Weight and Size Judo:
Certain movers exploit the size and weight of your property to overcharge you. Legitimate movers typically charge based on the actual weight, providing estimates close to the final scale. However, dishonest movers prefer to use cubic feet as a measure, which allows them to overcharge customers easily. Although some legitimate movers use cubic feet, many states have made this measurement illegal. Rogue moving companies circumvent the law by providing an estimate based on weight but then claim you have more cubic feet than estimated, charging thousands of dollars for the extra space on the truck. Another trick involves misrepresenting the weight of the truck itself, adding extra charges for every mile they drive.
Unwittingly Hiring a Broker:
The internet has made it easy for rogue operators in the moving industry to deceive people. They present themselves as moving companies with attractive websites and rosy estimates. However, many turn out to be brokers instead of actual movers. While there are legitimate moving brokers regulated by the federal government, there are also numerous fly-by-night outfits that partner with unscrupulous, unlicensed, or uninsured movers to carry out the job. They often demand upfront deposits, sometimes as high as 50 percent, which aren’t actual deposits for the move but rather fees for using the broker.
Delayed or non-existent deliveries are another widespread issue in the moving industry. After loading your property onto the truck, movers may fail to deliver it on the promised date, leaving you in limbo. This can occur due to impoundment by the U.S. Department of Transportation, delays caused by multiple deliveries before yours, or even the movers abandoning your property in a warehouse. These delivery problems can result in months of delays or permanent loss of your belongings.
To avoid falling victim to moving scams, it is essential to be vigilant and recognize the warning signs. By being aware of the top five moving scams and the ten red flags discussed in this article, you can make informed decisions when hiring a moving company. Always research and verify the credentials of potential movers, seek written estimates, and rely on reputable sources for reviews and information. By taking these precautions, you can ensure a safe and successful move.