Protecting Your Move from Scams

Are you moving to a new home? For most people, it’s a stressful time—to put it lightly, things don’t always go as planned. Hiring a moving company shouldn’t be one of those things! Since you’re moving everything valuable to you, you want to put the move into trustworthy hands. Don’t let yourself put your belongings in the hands of poor quality movers, or even worse, a moving scam! Unfortunately, there are crooks out there that will take advantage of people in the process of moving. Brandon Moving & Storage looks at how to recognize these fraudulent schemes and avoid them.

A “moving scam” is perpetrated by a person or company that uses unlawful or fraudulent tactics to get money from their customers. One way these operations deceive customers is by posting highly positive online reviews about their company under false names, so that people searching online for movers will see them. Reading such reviews without doing more research into a particular company, a potential customer may be duped into believing that company has the highest ratings, when in reality they have had negative customer feedback. Avoid this trap by verifying the reputation of the company from multiple sources. For example, check to see if the company is a member of the American Moving and Storage Association (AMSA) or the Better Business Bureau (BBB). Additionally, you can’t beat a personal recommendation from a trustworthy family member or friend for a company they have used in the past. 
Another tactic employed by scams is “low-ball” estimates. That is, a person or company may give you an unrealistically low price estimate for the move to entice your business as a customer. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is! Don’t accept an estimate without the mover conducting an on-site inspection of the items in your home, and make sure to compare the estimates of 3-4 different companies before making your decision. If the estimate is suspiciously low, don’t accept the offer without a satisfactory explanation! 

Large deposits are also a red flag for moving scams. Professional, reputable moving companies will not ask for cash or a deposit in advance of a move—most movers are paid on delivery of the items to the new home. If your potential mover asks for money in advance, steer clear! This is likely a tell-tale sign of a scam. 

Finally, it’s extremely important to carefully review any business documents given to you by the company before you sign any document. Some scams dupe customers into signing incomplete documents without looking—subjecting them to whatever terms the company later fills in. Never sign incomplete or blank documents! Make sure you read all of the terms of the agreement and the fine print in the document before you sign. Also, never agree to terms or prices over the phone without seeing it in writing. 

When searching for a moving company, keep these tips in mind to avoid becoming a moving scam victim. Taking the time to find a legitimate, trustworthy, and reasonably priced company for the move will save you stress on moving day and ease your mind, knowing that your belongings are safe