How to avoid fraudulent moving companies

Alert signs.

Moving to a new house or apartment is a very stressful process. You have to think of everything. This is why it’s always a good idea to hire a professional moving company. However, you should know that the company you hire is a reliable one. There are many fraudulent moving companies who will take your money without doing the work. You should inform yourself on these types of companies and how they operate. Here are some of the most common scams, and ways to avoid fraudulent moving companies.

The most common moving scams

While it is frightening to think about moving scams, you should know the possibilities. One of the most common moving frauds happens after the company loads up all of your belongings on their trucks. Afterwards, they will ask for more money in order to unload it. 

Another possibility is that the company doesn’t show up for the move. This usually happens after they have asked for a large deposit. This essentially means that you will have paid for services you did not receive.

Finally, the scariest scam of all is when the company drives off with your belongings and never arrives at the appointed place. You lose all of your items and never hear from them again. These scams, while rare, do happen. The best way to protect yourself is to do your own research.

Hiring a reputable moving company will help you alleviate the stress of moving, while a scam company will only add to it. This article will help you know the difference.

Don’t pay upfront if you are looking to avoid fraudulent moving companies

Many reputable moving companies ask for a deposit before the move. This ensures them that you will actually use their services. The deposit most often varies from 10% to 15% of the original estimate. However, many scam moving companies will ask you to pay half or more of the entire bill. Don’t fall for it! If you do this, there is no guarantee that you will ever see your possessions again. Furthermore, this deposit will allow them to blackmail you into accepting additional services and costs. Instead, thank them for their time and look for another, more reliable company. 

Wallet - Save money by paying the movers after the job is done.
Never pay in cash – a credit card is a safer way of doing business.

Do thorough research

The best way to ensure that you avoid fraudulent moving companies is to do research. First, ask friends or neighbors for any recommendations. If they have ever moved, they might have positive experiences. Additionally, a local real estate company likely has information on reputable companies. 

Next, do research online. Your first stop should be the website of the Better Business Bureau. The names of moving companies are listed there, as well as reviews. These reviews are the most accurate and reliable ones. Beware of fake reviews online. Many fraudulent companies will have fake positive reviews posted on their websites, by their own employees. For this reason, make sure that you find actual customers with contact information. You can call these clients and ask them about their experience with the company in question.

Make sure they do a detailed estimate

Some moving companies offer estimates over the phone or online. While it’s a good place to start, you should always follow with an in-house estimate. You might want to save the time needed for an in-house estimate by doing it this way. However, an estimator should always come to your house in person. They have to see the number of items you have in order to give an accurate estimate. 

An estimator will help you avoid fraudulent moving companies.
An in-house estimate is the most reliable way to know how much money you will spend.

Moreover, the estimator should take his or her time going through the house. They should ask you questions about your belongings and the distance of your move. For example, they will want to know how you want them to handle fragile items. If the estimator doesn’t ask any questions or make any notes, you are probably dealing with a scam company

The company should have the right equipment

When you deal with a reputable company, you know that your belongings are safe. They have their own trucks and experienced workers. Moreover, they have the right moving equipment which keeps the movers as well as your items intact. However, a scam moving company will not have their own trucks or movers. Instead, they will rent unmarked trucks which you won’t find easily in case you get robbed. 

Additionally, scam movers may hire other parties to do the job. If this happens, you will have no way of knowing who is actually dealing with your belongings. They might injure themselves or harm your property. When you try to avoid fraudulent moving companies, make sure that their employees and trucks are up for the job.

Read contracts carefully to avoid fraudulent moving companies

If you have ever signed a document, you know that you should never sign a blank contract. This is one of the most common tactics of scam moving companies. However, you should also never sign incomplete contracts. It should list every detail of the services offered. Any additional services such as packing or added items should be clearly stated. If you fail to make sure they are listed, you open yourself up to having to pay more. Moreover, ask them to list any items you add after the initial estimate. Scam companies will try to tell you that they never actually loaded those added items on the truck.

Make sure to read carefully each clause of the document before signing.
Have a lawyer or a person you trust present when you sign the contract.

Additionally, make sure to read the contract carefully. If you want to avoid fraudulent moving companies, ask for help with the document. Some additional costs and hidden fees might be listed, ones that you should not have to pay for. The fine print is where these companies abuse your lack of experience. On the other hand, the language of the contract might be too complicated for a layman. That is why you should always have someone with experience go over the contract for you.

Many scam companies will take advantage of senior citizens. If you are a senior or have one in your family, make sure that they get the proper assistance with moving. Check out for any services and help you or your loved one might need.

It’s easier to find reliable companies than you think

You always think that these things won’t happen to you – until they do. Of course, by then it’s too late. The best way to avoid fraudulent moving companies is to get informed. If you know how a company operates, that they have experience and satisfied clients, you ensure that you have a positive experience. These tips will help you determine which company is the way to go.

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