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Moving companies don’t exactly have the best reputation.  Although one bad apple shouldn’t spoil the whole bunch, moving scams have become so commonplace, many feel fortunate when they find ONE good apple in the bunch.  What do you do when you need a mover?

Related Post: How do you choose a good mover?

Picking the Good Apple

By becoming familiar with the tricks scammers use, you will be less likely to fall for one.  The more you learn about their wicked ways, the more equipped you’ll be to choose a good guy to get the job done.  Here are some words to the wise.

Learn the Lingo

The Today Show featured a piece on moving scammers and how to avoid falling for their evil tricks.  Here are some of the terms that are used to describe their antics:

Reckless Abandonment.  This situation occurs when a mover takes your money and your possessions and hits the road.  If you are fortunate, he may keep your money and leave your things in a storage or alongside the road in the truck (or… not in the truck).

Bait and Switch.  Initially, you get a quote for a bargain price.  Once you are sold on the price, they’ve got you.  At the end of the move, your total bill is nothing like the quote you were given.

Trumped Up Delivery Charges.  This happens when a mover finds absurd charges to tack on to your bill.  The charges only occur after your possessions are in the truck, of course.  Weight is a common excuse the mover uses for the fees.

Late (or Never) Delivery.  This scam is a horrible one.  The mover packs you up and takes your belongings but either never delivers them or calls with a “reason” he can’t deliver them on time.  He may say your possessions are behind other’s boxes or that the truck is impounded.  Whatever the excuse, if you are lucky, your beloved items will arrive some weeks later.

The Hostage.  This one is very troubling.  The mover gives you an estimate.  Once your belongings are in his possession, he adds on ridiculous extras.  The charges begin to mount.  The only way to get your belongings back is to pay the tab.

Moving Traps to NOT Fall Into

Being aware is the key to prevent being ripped off.  Some things to watch out for when it comes to hiring and dealing with a mover are:

  •         If something seems to be too good to be true (such as price), it probably is.
  •         Verify the company’s address.
  •         Seek recommendations from people you know.
  •         Inquire with your real estate agent about reputable movers.
  •         Get estimates from more than one mover.
  •         Check for complaints about the company.
  •         Don’t give a cash deposit.
  •         Don’t pay the moving fee in cash.
  •         Be certain the truck is branded.
  •         Read all fine print of the contract.
  •         Never sign a partial contract.
  •         Purchase credible insurance.

Make the Right Move

Sure, there are moving companies that are out to do nothing but scam you.  There are also movers who are professional and trustworthy.  The fact of the matter is that if you are moving, especially a long distance, you will need a reputable mover to get your belongings there.

With the helpful hints and information you have just learned, you are now equipped to better avoid moving scams so you can make the right move.