How to Avoid Scammers & Shady Moving Companies

How to Avoid Scammers & Shady Moving Companies

It’s important to do a thorough research when looking for a trustworthy moving company to move your goods from one place to another. The number of complaints filed against movers did increase over the past decade or so. Therefore, knowing how to avoid scammers and shady movers comes in handy when looking for a company.

Not coming for an in-house tour

A moving company that doesn’t request an on-site examination of the household goods is providing you a faulty estimate. And those estimates most of the time are too good to be true. Usually, you have more belongings than you think you do. The good estimator isn’t looking for particular items but guessing the weight and bulk of the assets. For instance, a queen-size bed without foot and headboards weighs much less compared to the one with a heavy wood frame.  Prices for the move are based on mileage, weight, and space your belongings take up in a moving truck.

The quick glance

A person who quickly walks through the home without taking notes about what you plan on moving or opening cabinets will give you an incorrect estimate. A qualified estimator will ask you questions and you need to give as much information as possible, including if you plan on buying new furniture/electronics before the move to add that to the total cost or if you’ll be donating/selling anything.

Requesting a deposit

A trustworthy moving company will not request a deposit before providing the service. Usually, everyone pays upon delivery, so if you pay upfront, you have no control over what happens to your belongings or when you’ll see them. Always remember to pay by card and not cash after the move to avoid being scammed.  

Ensuring the company has a license and a local address

Many shady movers constantly do their business under new names, so make sure the company you choose to move your stuff has a local address, a license, and provides insurance. When phoning in, the representative should answer with the full name of the company and not with something generic such as “moving company” for example.

And for your safety, ask for three past references from your area that the company helped to move in the last three months. Then, call the previous customers and ask for their experience.

Doing an online search to find out if there are any complaints about the company can also help to avoid scams and shady movers. You can also call the government’s consumer complaints hotline to query about the company’s history.

Packing service and its costs

When packing your own belongings, the company isn’t responsible for any damage. However, some movers do offer packing services. If you let them do it, you’ll get overpriced costs for boxes and other materials, nothing to say about a possible theft or damage caused by careless packers.

Ask for extra fees

Always ask the estimator for additional fees that might occur during the moving process. The mover might add an extra fee if you are moving from or to a 10th-floor flat, the building has a narrow street that won’t fit the truck, or you are moving from or to a two-storey apartment. It’s always better to know what situations might increase your costs.

Value and insurance protection

All movers are obliged to be responsible for the goods they transport. There are two different levels of accountability that you should be aware of, including the charges that apply and the protection provided by each. These levels are explained in the brochure Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move that your moving company should give you. Make sure you read the brochure carefully and follow the steps provided there to declare the value of your belongings.

Don’t sign the blank contract

This should be obvious and common sense, but never, ever, sign a blank piece of paper, even if you really like the mover. Get everything in writing including your estimate, all extra costs, and pick up and delivery dates. Read the contract carefully and ensure all your belongings that need to be moved are listed there. Avoid items inventoried as “office supplies” unless you packed them yourself and know what goes there. If your precious electronic devices or computers are not labeled on the inventory form, don’t expect it to be in the boxes when moved to a new place. Moreover, you can’t file a complaint about it as it’s not in the inventory list.

File the claim in time

Moving to a new home or office is a tiresome process, especially unpacking. There might be boxes that need to be unpacked immediately, and some that can be stored for a while. However, since you have only nine months to file an insurance claim and report any problems to the company, it’s recommended to go through all the boxes as soon as possible and don’t postpone it. 

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