When the economy is tough and people are struggling, you might think that scam artists would give us a break. Unfortunately that is not the case. If you are getting ready to move to a different home, you need to be aware of scams that happen every day in the moving industry. There are unscrupulous providers ready to take advantage of you. Horror stories of moves that have gone terribly wrong abound:
- One company stole a family’s money and all their possessions.
- Another scam artist bid the job over the phone for a low hourly rate and then held the family’s belongings hostage until they paid a sum three times the original amount.
- One company just didn’t show up.
These stories are enough to make your hair turn gray. But you don’t need to be a victim.
Follow these tips to save yourself the high cost and heartache of dealing with a dishonest mover:
1. Deal only with a mover who has a local office. No local office, no deal.
2. Deal only with the actual van line or its authorized agent who can give a binding estimate on behalf of the national line. Never use brokers.
3. Get on-site estimates from at least three movers before deciding on a mover.
4. Check out the license and insurance status of all interstate carriers with the Federal Carrier Safety Administration Protect Your Move.
5. Ask for a binding estimate or a “not to exceed” estimate. A nonbinding estimate is never allowed to exceed the quoted price by more than 10 percent.
6. READ THE AGREEMENT the mover hands you. Make sure the mover will not be able to add on “incidental” or “additional services” without your permission.
7. Pay with a credit card. Never deal with a mover who expects to be paid in cash. Paying by credit card gives you the added protection of the card issuer’s dispute resolution if needed.
8. Make sure your estimate includes your initial deposit, not the balance due.
9. Make sure the mover actually has enough equipment to move your belongings. Otherwise, they may broker your move to someone else you know nothing about, putting your possessions at risk.
10. Never sign an “addendum” to your moving agreement after your move. This is most likely an attempt to get you to waive your rights to file a claim later if you discover you’ve been ripped off.
Don’t be the victim of an unscrupulous mover. Follow the tips above and protect yourself from the financial loss and hassle that come when you deal with a scam artist.
Brian Long is President and Founder of First Movers Advantage, LLC and Eureka! Quotes the international online directory of licensed, local movers. If you are looking for a mover, visit Eureka! Quotes to connect with professional movers in your area who are eager to provide moving services.