How To Avoid Moving Scams

4 Tips from Professional Movers

How To Avoid Moving Scams
Any person can become victims of moving fraud in a variety of ways, all of which are costly. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reports more than 4,100 consumers filed moving fraud claims in 2020, with the average claim being around $8,000. Fifty-three percent of those consumers reported being overcharged for services. 41% experienced either loss or damage of their property during the move.

Most surprisingly, 9% of consumers were victims of hostage load situations, in which moving companies refused to release their belongings until a higher fee than what was agreed upon was paid.

To avoid incurring unexpected costs due to moving fraud, be aware of these potentially dishonest activities:

  • Refusing to prepare a written contract
  • Requesting a signature on a blank contract
  • Offering only a cell phone number as contact information.

There are several versions of moving scams.

Getting a quote and leaving a deposit, but the “movers” never show.

Extra weight charge.

The moving company quotes a price based on weight. After loading, they inform you that your belongings went over the weight estimate and the additional weight will be a lot more per pound (sometimes double).

Theft & Blackmail

Everything seems to be fine. The movers quote a price, arrive on time, and load your belongings on a truck. But when the truck doesn’t show up at your new home, either your belongings are simply gone forever or are being held “hostage” and you have to pay another fee before scammers will deliver them.

Tips to Avoid a Moving Scam

#1 License & Insurance

Look out for the company website, you must find information about registration, addresses, license and insurance. Check licensing with the authorities. Another warning is if telephone calls are answered with a generic "movers" rather than a company name and the movers use rented trucks.

#2 Don't pay full payment in advance.

Don't pay full payment in advance. If a mover asks for a large down payment or full payment in advance, that may be a warning sign. And if a company says it won’t return your items to you without more money than you agreed to pay, contact local law enforcement for help.

#3 Insurance coverage

Understand the terms of the insurance coverage and consider purchasing full value protection. Know that a mover is not liable for loss or damage of contents in customer-packed boxes, unless there is provable negligence on the part of the mover.

#4 Ask questions.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions about anything you don’t understand. If the moving company can’t or won’t answer your questions, you might want to look for another moving company.

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Conclusion

Partnering with a professional, trustworthy moving company saves money, time, relieves stress and ultimately ensures the safety of your possessions.

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