Moving scams are everyone’s nightmare. You trust all of your belongings to a moving company, only to have them held ransom until you pay a higher rate than you agreed to.
MSN estimates that up to five percent of long distance movers are less than scrupulous. How do you find a reliable moving company amidst all of the companies clambering for your business? Below are ten ways that will help you avoid moving scams:
1. Choose an experienced long distance moving company. A company with a proven track record of successful moves has a reputation to uphold and is much more likely to treat you fairly. Moving scams are a sure way for a moving company’s reputation to be tarnished. A reputable company will not get involved in moving scams for fear of loosing their credibility.
2. Make sure the moving company’s employees are bonded and that the company is insured. You are letting movers into your home. Making sure that they are bonded gives you one less thing to worry about. In addition, all moving companies can make an occasional mistake. A moving company that carries insurance against such incidents is one that cares about your business.
3. Get references (and check them.) A reputable moving company should have no problem with giving you the names and contact information of a couple of satisfied past customers. If a prospective moving company balks at this suggestion, you need to cross them off of your list – it’s likely they have been involved in some form of moving scam.
4. Check the company’s BBB rating. It’s also a good idea to check a prospective moving company’s record with the local Better Business Bureau. While any company can have an occasional incident or bad report, a pattern of poor customer service should be a red flag. Like most illegitimate business, moving scams will be reported and there should be some form of record you can track.
5. Plan your move well in advance. Six months in advance is not too early to start talking with moving companies, if you have the option. Many of the best, most reliable, long distance moving companies might be fully booked if you wait until closer to moving day to call them.
6. Ask your real estate agent for a recommendation. You may only move long distance once or twice in your lifetime. However, your real estate agent sees hundreds of long distance moves and hears stories from satisfied clients, along with the ones who wished they’d picked a different moving company. If a moving company is known for its involvement in moving scams, news will travel by word of mouth.
7. Make sure that you get a complete contract. Reliable long distance moving companies put things in writing, so that you and they know what’s expected of them. Don’t move without a contract that spells out all of the details you discussed and all related charges. Moving scams can often be identified by a lack of paperwork.
8. Beware of large deposit requirements. Most reputable moving companies require only a small, good faith deposit to enlist their services. A deposit of between $100 and $500 is typical. Be cautious of a company that requires sufficiently more than that. Unfortunately, moving scams can often be in the form of a “hit and run.” Don’t fall prey to giving a large amount of money, now matter how much sweet-talking they do.
9. Be wary of Internet only moving companies. Moving companies that advertise on the Internet and have no physical storefront could be here one day and gone the next. To avoid the risk of moving scams, it’s best to avoid these part-time operators.
10. Look at the trucks. How a moving company maintains their trucks can tell you a lot about the business and how the company will treat your possessions.
Moving long distance doesn’t have to be stressful. A good, experienced moving company like Move Move Movers can help make your move across country as hassle free as possible.