Moving scams are unfortunately a common problem in the moving industry, and they can take many different forms. Here are some types of moving scams, and how to avoid them:
- Low-Ball Quotes: Some moving companies will offer an unrealistically low quote to get your business, only to demand a higher price on moving day. To avoid this, get at least three written estimates from reputable moving companies and compare them. If one quote is significantly lower than the others, it's likely a red flag.
- Hostage Situation: Some scammers will hold your belongings hostage until you pay additional fees, claiming that they were not included in the original quote. To avoid this, read your moving contract carefully and make sure all fees are clearly outlined. Don't sign any blank documents, and never pay in cash.
- Phantom Movers: Some scammers will claim to be movers but then subcontract the work to another company without your knowledge. To avoid this, make sure the company you hire is licensed and insured and has its own employees.
- Fake Reviews: Some scammers will post fake positive reviews to attract customers. To avoid this, look for reviews on multiple platforms and read both positive and negative reviews. If all the reviews seem too good to be true, they probably are.
- No Paper Trail: Some scammers will refuse to provide a written estimate or contract. To avoid this, always ask for a written contract that clearly outlines all the terms and conditions of your move.
- Bait and Switch: Some scammers will offer a low estimate for your move, but then switch it out for a much higher one on moving day. They may claim that there were additional charges that weren't included in the original estimate, or that the volume or weight of your items was higher than expected. To avoid this, make sure to get a binding estimate from your moving company, which guarantees that the final price will not exceed a certain amount.
- Holding Your Belongings Hostage: Some scammers will load your belongings onto their truck and then demand a higher payment before they will deliver them to your new home. They may claim that there were additional charges or that you owe them more money than was agreed upon. To avoid this, make sure to read your contract carefully and to only pay the amount that was agreed upon. Also, never sign a contract with blank spaces or clauses that you don't understand.
- Damage to Your Belongings: Some scammers may damage or lose your items during the move, but then refuse to take responsibility for them. They may claim that the damage was pre-existing or that it was caused by your own negligence. To avoid this, make sure to take an inventory of your items before the move and to note any existing damage. Also, consider purchasing additional moving insurance to protect your items in case of damage or loss.
- Unlicensed or Uninsured Movers: Some scammers may claim to be licensed and insured movers, but in reality, they have no credentials or insurance to protect your belongings. To avoid this, make sure to check the credentials of your moving company before hiring them. You can check with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to verify their license and insurance information.
- Unsolicited Offers: Some scammers may contact you out of the blue, offering a great deal on your move. They may claim that they have a truck in your area or that they have a cancellation that they need to fill. To avoid this, make sure to do your research before hiring any moving company. Don't trust unsolicited offers from companies that you haven't researched.
To avoid moving scams, it's important to do your research, ask the right questions, and read your contract carefully. When looking to hire a moving company