When it comes to figuring out how to avoid moving scams, homeowners must be vigilantly aware for the following red flags: cursory quote estimates by faulty estimators, the use of cubic feet quotes, and if your moving company requests security deposits. These are just some of the symptoms of the more common moving scams that unfortunately victimize innocent homeowners every year. And while this still happens across the nation, some simple research will go a long way in helping you determine if your movers are professional, and honest. Below, we’ve outlined some of the most common scams in the moving industry so that you’ll all be able to spot them before it’s too late.
1. Hostage Loads: This scam could be considered timeless, and has most likely occurred the most out of all the scam types we’ll list in this article. Essentially, a shady quote estimator will perform a rudimentary screening of your belongings, and deliver you their estimation. Everything will go smoothly, until it’s time for you stuff to arrive at your new residence. But, now this “estimator” is demanding additional money to pay for unforeseen items, uncalculated weight, or service fees, and they’ll hold your belongings hostage until you cough it up. In order to avoid this, keep a sharp eye on the quote estimator, making sure they ask all the right questions. The good ones will ask you specifics about the food you’re bringing(if any), if your bed frame is heavy or light, and if you’re planning on selling anything before the move.
2. Cubic Feet: Right off the bat, cubic feet quotes are actually illegal in many states, and if you find a mover that uses this quoting practice, avoid them! However, if for any reason this occurs, here’s what will happen. The estimator will tell you they can provide a guaranteed price based on cubic measurements, which sounds great because anything that’s guaranteed sounds simple. Most homeowners won’t questions the flat rate, and many movers will rig their measurement tools to better align with the cubic measurements. Avoiding this one is easy, simply ask them how they charge for their services. Like us, if they say through weight, space, or distance, then you should be good.
3. Security Deposits: Reputable moving companies do NOT require homeowners to make deposits ahead of the move. In fact, if you encounter a moving company that does, then you can assume they have another agenda in mind. Oftentimes, movers will snatch the deposit and run, or possible keep it over claims of you misleading them about the weight of your items or the distance traveled. Best practice to avoid this, is simply move on to another company should they ask for a security deposit ahead of time.
If you can remember these common pitfalls, then your moving experience should be smooth sailing. However, after reading all that, you might wondering how to report a scam business? Well, you have a few options for that.
Don’t Let Others Fall Victim
- Police: A good place to start would be contacting the local authorities. Moving companies are legally obliged during interstate moves to relinquish possession of your property once 100% of fees are paid from the binding agreement (quote or contract) you received from the estimator.
- Better Business Bureau: The Better Business Bureau has an entire department and team dedicated to tracking and shutting down fraudulent companies that try these moving scams. They’ll be able to investigate, and hopefully, bar them from further conducting business.
- Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration: This state government regulatory body functions similarly to the BBB, and has been known to impose fines up to $10,000 per day on scam moving businesses. This is especially helpful for hostage load type situations where these fines can pressure fraudulent businesses into releasing your goods.
Overall, moving company scams can be easily avoided by simply conducting some due diligence before looking for your provider. Again, you’ll want to look at how they price quotes, if they require deposits, and what their rating is on the BBB website. If you need eviction moving help, at Bennett Movers, we don’t charge deposits and we only dispatch quote estimators with years of experience. Contacts us today, and get a FREE quote!