Are you in the process of looking for a reliable relocation company? Then you should know that there are certain moving scams you should watch out for. Although most moves all around the country go smoothly, every once in a while a client might stumble upon scammers posing as reliable relocation specialists. Of course, this is something you want to avoid at all costs. To help you do so, we at East Coast West Coast Movers have put together some tips on how to recognize and avoid scammers. Read on to find out how to protect yourself from fraudulent activities.
How to Recognize Long Distance Moving Scams
Luckily, fraudulent cross country relocation companies are relatively easy to spot if you know where to look. There are several things you should watch out for.
They Avoid On-Site Moving Estimates
Any competent relocation expert will offer to do an on-site inspection of your home before calculating your price estimate. In fact, when it comes to interstate moves, they are required by law to do so. The only way this can be avoided is if you personally sign a waiver. In other words, if the movers you’re thinking about hiring are neither offering an on-site estimate nor asking you to sign the waiver, you can be sure they are not doing their job the right way and that this is most likely a scam.
These Companies Don’t Have Tools or Equipment
If you have already hired someone and, on the day of the move, a truck shows up with a different company’s name and logo, this is a red flag. This situation is most likely an indicator that you have been dealing with brokers. Brokers are companies that don’t own trucks or hire relocation specialists but only act as a mediator between a client and actual movers. In general, there is nothing illegal about being a broker. However, they are not allowed to pose as relocation specialists.
Check the Mover’s License and Insurance
All relocation experts are required by law to be registered, licensed, and insured. The first thing you should do is look for their DOT number. Relocation specialists will often display this number visibly on their website. What’s more, legitimate moving experts will always provide you with a document clarifying all your rights and responsibilities when you move. The final step is to contact the American Moving and Storage Association and check if the mover you are thinking about hiring is on their Pro-Movers list.
The Low-Cost Scam
This is one of the scams unsuspecting clients most commonly fall for. This is because they are drawn to the unbelievably low prices quoted by the scammers. So how does this scam work?
- The low quote. The first step is offering the potential client a super-low bid. In this way, the scammers make sure they attract the necessary attention and customers.
- The pickup. Once you agree to do business with them, the scammers will pick up your belongings from your home just like any mover would.
- A deposit. Some scammers will even go as far as to request that you pay a deposit.
- The post-estimate weighing. This is where the scam happens. Once the scammers have your belongings, they will let you know that they weighed the whole cargo and came up with a much higher number than they initially estimated. They will then request that you pay an additional fee at a much higher rate for the amount exceeding the estimated weight. Since they have your belongings with them and refuse to deliver them, you will have no choice but to pay the price they requested.
What to Do if You Come Across Scammers
In your search for the right removal specialists, you might come across a scam and, hopefully, recognize it as such. In such a case, there are several things you should do.
Avoid Them at All Costs
No matter how attractive or affordable prices are, if your gut tells you you’re dealing with a scam, you probably are. Don’t fall for it – avoid such companies at all costs. There are many high-quality, reasonably priced relocation experts out there who will take good care of your belongings.
Report All Issues Related to the Mover and Their Services
Whether you recognized a fraudulent company before hiring them or hired them and ended up getting burned, the best thing to do is to report them. This will not only help you get ahold of your belongings, but it will prevent the company from scamming anyone else. You can report them to the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration), BBB (Better Business Bureau), or your local authority.
Spread the Word
The most ethical thing to do in this situation is to put in an effort to warn others. You can do so by spreading the word around, reporting to authorities, or writing an honest and comprehensive review.
How to Find the Right Movers
Now that you know how to recognize a moving scam, it is time to take a quick look at how to find the right specialists for your move:
- Always ask for an estimate. Before even considering hiring someone, ask for a price estimate. Once you choose your relocation experts, request an estimate in writing. And remember, never go for suspiciously cheap companies. It is better to pay a bit higher amount than to end up being scammed for much more.
- Check the reviews. Other people’s experiences with them are the best indicator for whether their staff will be able to move your home. If a company has a lot of negative reviews, you should steer clear.
- Pay attention to their license and registration. Every reliable mover should be fully licensed. Make sure the movers you are considering hiring have all the necessary documentation.
- Always follow your gut. If your gut is telling you not to choose a specific mover, listen to it. Even if there are no apparent signs of fraudulent activities, it is better to be safe than sorry.