The relocation process is challenging and difficult without any added stress. In order to help yourself, you’ve decided to trust your belongings with a moving company and are now trying to figure out which one suits you best. The last thing you need is someone cheating you, ruining this whole project. Times are complicated and the Internet provides as many opportunities and information as it does risks. Naturally, you want to avoid any inconveniences. With all the info you can find, you’re wondering if there are some red flags you’re missing. However, there is no need to worry, since we’re here to help. In the text that follows, we will go through some of the most common tricks a bad moving company can pull on you and help you identify a moving scam.
First things first – do some proper research
Before signing any contracts or even calling the company, you ought to devote some time to go through thorough research. If you found a company that seems nice, feel free to check with the American Moving and Storage Association if it is certified. You can both ask them for a recommendation or to screen a company of your choosing. When looking online, these are the things to take into notice:
- Whether the company has an address on their website. If it does not, or there is only a city provided, you should become suspicious. If it does, a good idea would be to check whether that location houses a business or is just an empty lot.
- All the reviews you can find for that company. This can be a bit tricky, and here’s why: a company can have a lot of terrible reviews and that is a clear testament of their bad service, but it can also have a tremendous amount of superb praises. This can also mean trouble since they can all be false. Find three different users with references form the last three months. See if you can strike up an open-ended conversation with them about the company and their experience. These ought to give you an accurate picture of the company’s business conduct.
Don’t forget that you can also ask your relatives, friends or acquaintances for their previous experiences. Any comment, good or bad, is helpful and should be used as guidance. If you are, for example, looking for some long distance movers in Boston you can check if some local forums have topics regarding this subject.
Proceed with making contact
This can also be a good way to smoke out a moving scam. If your phone call is answered with a mere ”hello” or ”movers”, it may suggest that these are not legitimate businessmen. There is a possibility that they are very friendly and nice, but a certain dose of professionalism is a good sign. Contact a trustworthy company will answer clearly with its full name.
A phone conversation can tell you a lot, so listen carefully. Being shady and avoiding certain answers is a bad sign. They should take a proper survey of your belongings and get informed about your planning, packing, and delivery.
Since this is also a time where you’ll probably go through bidding, a few things to look out for:
- A very low bid. They use this as a way to lure people and make them think how they’ve got a good deal. A good rule of thumb: if it seems to good to be true, it probably is. Always insist on going through the full scope of your final cost before signing. Pay attention to every little detail and all conditions of the agreement.
- A bid based on the volume of your belongings. This measure is acceptable for small moves but is a red flag for a long-distance move. This kind of interstate move without a weight conversion factor is considered to be illegal. A correct way to set a bid is by estimated weight.
- A bid based solely by phone. This is also a convenient way to spot a moving scam. A bad moving company will claim that they can quote your move without the visual inspection. Then, when they arrive, some hidden cost will spring up and you end up paying more than they estimated. Have in mind that it is almost impossible to quote a large move without the previous inspection and detailed questioning about your belongings, your moving location and packing method.
- A quick and lazily done bid. Like the previous example, this is not a good way to accurately estimate the cost of a long-distance move. In order to gather enough information, the estimator needs to take a certain amount of time to inspect all the rooms and closets. He should also inquire about your moving plans and items that need the special taking care of.
- A bid confirmed by a handshake. Insist on signing a completed moving contract. This needs to be done even before the movers take possession of your items. By doing so, you avoid paying for any unplanned fees for additional weight at the last minute, packing, heavy moving or climbing stairs.
What else to expect from a moving scam
Every licensed mover will provide consumers with a brochure titled “Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move”. This information packet contains consumer rights, fair practices, and industry regulations. Federal Law requires that licensed moving companies always give their consumers a copy, so it’s a good indicator of a reliable company.
Some rouge operators may ask for a cash or credit card deposit before truck loading. Such a demand is characteristic for a moving scam. Avoid this by clarifying payment terms before contract signing.
Have in mind that if you do the packing and unpacking on your own, the mover is not the one responsible for the possible related damage.
Any quality moving company likes to have their vehicles clearly branded with their logo. If your movers show up with blank trucks, it may mean trouble. Think of it this way, moving billboard is great advertising, and if you can’t afford one, chances are the business isn’t upright.
Last bit of advice
However deceptive some websites may seem, you can still easily find a reliable company and avoid a moving scam. Such is Premium Q Moving and Storage Boston, and feel free to use it if you’re nearby. People on the internet are usually very open to giving advice and sharing experiences, so don’t be afraid to dive into those comments. Inform yourself properly from every source you have, familiarize yourself with the contract, read before you sign and happy travels!