Spring and summer months are the most popular time to move. Unfortunately, crooks take advantage of this life-changing event and cause a not-so-exciting moving experience for many. Each year, thousands of consumers are scammed by fake moving companies. Here are common red flags to watch out for when hiring for a move:
- Over-the-phone estimate. Besides the mileage, the price of moving depends on the amount and weight of your goods which can be best determined in person. If a moving company gives you an estimate sight unseen, it’s probably inaccurate and too good to be true. Always request a written in-home estimate before making a decision.
- Unbelievably low estimate. To lure you in, scammers will offer you a low-ball estimate. On the actual moving day, you’re told that the amount of your goods is larger than expected. Therefore, the final price is higher than the original estimate or even doubled. Scammers will even threaten to hold your belongings until you pay them the full amount Movingscam.com offers plenty of resources to shed some light on moving scams like this one and a message board where you can post questions regarding certain companies.
- Large cash deposit. Most reputable movers will not demand a large cash deposit in advance and generally collect payment on the day of delivery. A $50 reservation fee to hold your date is acceptable, but a $500 deposit is a major red flag.
- Extra fees. Scammers will do their best to charge you many hidden fees. For example, you may be charged extra if you live in a two-story house or if you’re moving to an apartment on the 9th floor. Moving services vary throughout the U.S. While it may not be unusual in your area for certain services to be surcharged, make sure you understand all the costs that you might incur and that that they are figured into your estimate.
- No address. Make sure to check if the company has a physical address and a working phone number listed on their website. If the only way to get a hold of the company is through an online form, it’s safe to assume they are illegitimate.
Before you hire movers, we recommended that you do some research. Read customer reviews online, talk to previous clients or check with the Better Business Bureau. Ask for written estimates and be sure your contract is complete and that you fully understand what it entails. A general rule is to get estimates from three reputable companies. Finally, know Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move.