There are plenty of scammers in the moving industry but unfortunately, people don’t look out for the warning signs of crooked movers. Many so-called “discounted movers” are unethical, shady and disreputable moving outfits who are more interested in liberating you from your cash than delivering your possessions safe and sound.
Some of the signs are obvious. Poor phone manners should be a big red flag. A website that looks woefully out of date is another. Likewise, a general feeling that the movers are disorganized or lack experience shouldn’t be ignored. None is proof that a company is dishonest, but if your instincts say there’s something fishy, go with your gut and move away from them as soon as possible.
Tips to avoid scammers
• Company’s reputation, business licenses – Contact the Better Business Bureau (BBB.org) and do your research to insure the moving company you may be hiring is legit and reputable in the industry. Don’t call the company of interest but talk to other people and organizations to check if they are in good standing or not.
• Visual inspections – Ensure the company is willing to come to your home to do visual inspections of the items you wish to move. They will send out a surveyor or assessor with an electronic handheld machine to enter information about your belongings, an estimate of how much possessions you have and the weight of it etc. If someone provides you a quote over the phone without coming to see your stuff, that’s a bad sign.
• Payment in advance – If a moving company requests, demands that you pay in advance or provide an abnormally large portion of the payment before the organization does the move – that should set off alarm bells.
• Insurance policy – Ask if the moving company has an insurance policy for at least $1 million. Most businesses or buildings etc. will require movers to have their own insurance policy before they can enter any building or area. If the movers accidentally ruin the property, the building owners know their property will be covered by the mover’s insurance policy. Request their policy number and ask the name of their insurance company, make a call to insure the mover is insured.
It ultimately comes down to common sense and doing a little homework on your part. Before you commit to a mover, ask around. Check out websites and references. If a company has a bad reputation, somebody will have written about it online. You don’t want to take a chance when it comes to your belongings. Do your research, and you’ll be far less likely to get burned by disreputable and crooked movers.