No one wants to be a victim of a moving fraud. But smart people repeatedly make silly mistakes when hiring a mover for their residential moves. The chance for scams is high out there, folks. Not everyone has your best interests at heart. First off, what’s a moving scam exactly? This term refers to fraudulent activities by a moving company built on unlawful tactics to get more money from customers in a dishonest way. Here are some of the most common scams and how you can avoid them.
1. False Moving Reviews
You did your part…you researched movers in your area…you chose one you THOUGHT you could trust…but you got burned. That’s because less than reputable movers have employees, friends and family members post highly positive reviews about the company to dupe people into thinking they’re better than they are. Instead of blindly relying on these review sites, get word of mouth recommendations from friends and family who have had success with movers in the past. Make sure they are licensed and insured, and belong to reputable organizations. Side note: Around the Clock Moving & Storage is a member of the Southwest Movers Association with an A+ Rating on the BBB.
2. Low-Ball Estimates
Unrealistically low price estimates are a hallmark of fraudulent movers. This is how they entice unsuspecting customers into hiring them. They give over-the-phone estimates that are inherently off the mark anyway. You always want someone to come to your house in person to take measurements for the most accurate price. As such, don’t take estimates over the phone. And don’t hire anyone who refuses to do an on-site inspection. If an estimate is low, ask why it is so much lower than their competitors. You don’t want to be saddled with surprises on your bill later.
3. Items Held Hostage
This is definitely a worst-case scenario: your goods are held hostage until you fork over large sums of money. Again, research is imperative here. If the movers disappear with your stuff, contact the police and then the U.S. Department of Transportation to lodge a complaint. Report them to the Better Business Bureau as well.
4. Large Deposits
Reputable movers won’t request large sums of money up front. Usually, you pay a small fee upfront, then the rest upon completion. If you are asked to pay all in cash upfront, for example, walk away. What incentive do they have to complete the job after they already have your money? Upfront booking fees should never be more than 10% to 15% of the final moving price, says The Moving Blog.
5. Know the red flags
- When you call the company’s phone number, they answer with a vague “Movers” or “Moving company” rather than a legit name.
- The movers won’t come to your home for an in-house survey of your goods, preferring to only give you an estimate online or over the phone.
- The mover will not give you a written estimate, only a verbal one.
- You can’t find anything specific on the company name, address, licensing information (U.S. DOT number) or insurance information.
- There is no local office to speak of so you can visit their fleet in person.
- You’re asked to give up a large deposit, or all cash, before they will move your stuff.
- The movers supply you with documents that are incomplete or blank. Don’t sign blank documents.
- The movers show up with a rental truck on moving day rather than their own marked trucks.
- You’re asked to sign a revised estimate before they will begin loading your items into the truck.
Contact Around the Clock Moving & Storage
Backed by 25 years of experience, Around the Clock Moving and Storage is honest and upfront about our moving services throughout Dallas. To schedule your free estimate, contact us at 469-853-0045.