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Five Common Moving Scams and How to Avoid Moving Problems

One of the biggest problems associated with moving these days is the high incidence of moving scams. While all moving companies say they are the best at what they do, how can you be entirely sure that you are working with the very best movers that are out there? How can you be sure that you won’t become another victim of a moving scam? The answer may not always be simple, but there are a few things that you can do in order to make the chances of falling victim to a scam much smaller. Knowing what scam movers do and how they operate, perhaps, is the best method of avoiding problems when you are getting ready to move. Thus, consider the following five moving scams that are commonly executed around the country and learn what you can do to avoid the same kind of problems in your own situation.
1. Taken for a Ride - The most common moving scamout there today involves the convoluted process that an actual mover is assigned the job that you need them to do. Often, when you call to get moving quotes, you are going to speak with a broker. This broker offers a very low, and quite enticing quote that you probably find attractive. Once you agree to the terms of the move, often requiring a deposit, then the broker assigns your move to an actual company. This company does not, by law, have to agree to the terms that the broker offered you. In the end, it means that the bill you are presented with at the end of the move is often much higher than the original estimate, sometimes by thousands of dollars. And because the broker assigned the job to a mover, who often assigns it to a sub-company, there is no communication and the mover who actually transports your stuff doesn’t even know what’s going on until you refuse to pay them.

2. Held Hostage - While in the previous scam the movers and the brokers don’t communicate, resulting in you paying more for the move than you planned, there is another moving scam out there where the movers purposefully give you a low moving quote and then raise the price, sometimes by 200%, once your things are loaded onto the back of the moving truck. Some scam companies make it a policy to offer super low quotes to people who are moving, only to boost the price once the stuff is on the truck saying that you actually have more than what you were originally quoted for. If you refuse to pay, the company holds your stuff hostage and doesn’t deliver it until you pay up on the debt. Often, this can result in loss and damages that exceed the cost the movers are demanding, so people often end up paying just to get their things.

3. Now You See It, Now You Don’t - Although less common than the first two kinds of moving scams, this third kind of moving scam is still heard about from time to time. Because there is little regulation from the government on the industry of moving, there are often companies that operate without licenses or government knowledge. As such, these companies can often fade into and back out of existence. What’s that mean for you, the consumer? You may never see your things again if you accidentally choose such a company. Because they fade in and out of existence, it can be super hard to track these companies, and thus, your goods. Often, your things are sold to make more money for those who are operating the scam.

4. Damaged Goods - While all legit moving companies are supposed to have insurance liability to a certain amount, there are some movers who refuse to pay out for damages that are incurred while the move is happening. Instead, these companies claim that your things were damaged when they were loaded onto the moving truck. Often, because there is no real paper trail or proof, these companies can get away with such things leaving the consumer to deal with the repair or replacement of often expensive items. While this kind of scam isn’t as prevalent as some of the others, it is still something to look out for when you are moving and you have hired a special company to transport your things.

5. Missing in Action - Finally, one of the last common moving scams out there today occurs when things you had packed in your boxes are missing when your goods are delivered to your new home. Moving companies always reserve the right to inspect your things and open your boxes. And there are many occurrences where this is something that should be allowed. For example, when something is shipped that begins to leak, or when dangerous substances are thought to be packed in your boxes, then such an inspection is warranted. However, some shady movers will use this provision to go through the things you are shipping to find things that may be worth a lot, but not immediately missed. In the end, you might find yourself missing anything small, from jewelry to electronics, but it may take you a while to really miss them resulting in the question of whether they were really taken or if you just misplaced them.

Avoiding These Common Moving Scams

While outlining these types of moving scams might make moving to a new home seem like something you want to avoid, you need to really consider methods of avoiding them while getting your things to your new home. In order to protect yourself from these scams, consider the following steps.
1. Binding Moving Quotes- The best way to avoid problems when it comes to how much you pay for your move is to get a binding moving quote that will legally limit the amount of money your movers will be able to charge you for your move. Getting a binding quote means that an actual representative from the moving company will come to your home and see just what you are moving so that the quote they do offer is more in line with the actual costs of the move. Regardless of where you are moving, getting this binding quote legally limits the end cost of your move to 110% of the amount quoted, protecting you from the horrors of many moving scams.

2. Moving Insurance - In order to protect yourself from damage and theft of your things, always get extra moving insurance from a company that is not associated with the movers. While many moving companies offer insurance liability for your move on a per pound basis, getting insurance from another company ensures that you will be able to file a claim easily without the hassles that might come from filing one with the movers themselves.

3. Know Your Rights - Above all, it is vitally important that you realize what your rights are when you move and who to contact if you have problems. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is the government entity that oversees moving companies throughout the country. They also have a database of rights and responsibilities that all people who are moving should be familiar with. Make sure that you take some time prior to choosing a moving company to find out what these rights are and who you should contact if any of your rights are infringed upon. While you might not always be able to get what you deserve, the FMCSA will open an investigation and follow up on the complaints that you file. Furthermore, share your experiences online so that other people can learn from whatever went wrong in your situation.

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