Choose The Right Company – BEWARE OF MOVING SCAMS!
Let’s start with the top mistake made by most people when moving:
- Booking with the first mover you spoke to without having a detailed quote in writing or just looking at the lowest quote!
- Never Book with any company unless you have a DETAILED PROFESSIONAL ESTIMATE in writing/email.
- A sentence stating simply that your move will cost $xx.xx is NOT a quote and is a sure-fire guarantee that you will be scammed.
- Almost every time, the cheapest quote will be the most expensive one in the end (even more so, once you factor in damages/hidden fees/etc…).
- Compare estimates, if one company is estimating vastly less than everyone else, odds are you are getting low-balled and will pay much more on the move date, when it’s too late!
- Always, keep in mind that legally you must have received a detailed quote with all requirements including the inventory it’s based on prior to your move as per State & Federal Law.
- It is your responsibility to know what your estimate is based on, after all, an estimate is an ESTIMATE.
- Which is why you should never just go with the lowest estimate unless you know exactly what it’s based on.
- There’s a reason why there are so many horror stories when it comes to moving…
- Don’t assume it’s based on what you have or what someone saw, because it’s not, legally it’s based on exactly what is stated in the estimate.
Example: if I give an Estimate (in writing/email) for moving A, B, C, D and you get a cheaper estimate with only A, B, C listed, it should be obvious why it’s cheaper. Or, if I base an estimate on 500 cubic feet with packing/boxing fragile items and marble, and someone gives you an estimate for 300 cubic feet and no packing, obviously theirs is less, BUT, odds are, you will always pay more in the end, after all it’s an estimate and every moving company has to have fragile items properly packed before they go on an insured moving truck!
It’s merely a matter of if that moving company will be honest and tell you now, or wait till later when it’s too late.
THE SCAM: (If it sounds too good to be true…)
The most common scam for moves is when a mover says, “I guarantee the move will be $1,000.00 (or any price significantly less than other estimates!) and everything is included”, then holds your furniture hostage until you pay a bill that is multitudes higher than the highest estimate you received.
How is this possible? The standard moving contract for most states is called a Bill of Lading. This contract states that the “consumer shall pay in full before property is relinquished by carrier”. So unless you have a corporate account or are in good standing with them, most movers take payment before they unload (upon arrival to the delivery address), Doing your own research into every company you speak with is truly the only way to know that your mover will stick close to the estimate given.
Keep in mind, there are many different ways that an unrepeatable mover can go about taking advantage of an unsuspecting victim. Low-ball estimates, Hidden Charges, Bait-and-Switch quotes, Price-Gouging… These methods of scamming have gone on for years, and there is no end in sight. Some of these companies have been in business for 10+ years! Others simply change their name and continue doing dishonest business until the next time people catch on and they have to change their name again!
DURING THE FIRST CONVERSATION, ALWAYS ASK FOR:
- Are you a Broker?
- The full legal company name (including any ‘dba’ names).
- Length of time in business.
- Full company address and phone number.
- The companies DOT license number and any other Federal license numbers.
NEVER ALLOW A MOVER TO RUSH YOU INTO BOOKING WITH THEM FOR A “PRICE GUARANTEE” OR ANY SUCH SALES TACTICS.
If the company is not forthcoming with any of the above information, or if the representative attempts to dodge any of these question, move on to the next company.
BEFORE CHOOSING A MOVER:
We suggest first checking with the Better Business Bureau for the proper credentials. Note, it is normal for a company which performs hundreds/thousands of moves per year to have some small quantity of complaints. Just be sure that all complaints or issues were resolved in a timely manner and to the customer’s satisfaction.
Check for any Associations such as AMSA or the CERTIFIED MOVER PROGRAM. These associations usually have very strict requirements and no tolerance for scammers and rogue companies.
Run the full and complete company name, the company’s state, and the word “reviews” through a search engine.
While most moving companies will have reviews posted on their company website, finding independent reviews online (especially on third-party websites) is a great way to see the quality of work (or lack thereof) that you can expect from a moving company. In our opinion, this is the best way to research a mover.
- Movers with generic names/similar names to a more reputable company (which are difficult to find reviews about online)
- Movers who are not easily found/searchable on most search engines (Google, yahoo, Bing…)
- Movers whose reviews are also not easily found on most search engines
- Movers whose reviews show a pattern of misleading customers, giving low-ball estimates, doing excessive damage to furniture or home, etc..
- Movers who don’t ask many questions about the details of your move.
- A vague items list from an unsuspecting customer is exactly what these scammers look for in a victim.
- Also, be sure to tell the representative any important details about your move (Stairs, elevator, large or bulky items, any disassembly required, etc…)