The Wheaton Blog
Scam the Scam Artist: 5 Common Moving Scams and How to Avoid Them
When you plan for a move, you already feel a lot of stress and tension as you clean, downsize, organize, and pack up your home. In most cases, hiring a moving company can help you put aside those feelings of frustration.
Unfortunately, many moving companies can be dishonest when they interact with their customers. Their only goal is to make as much money as possible in the easiest way they can. As a result, many people going through a move have been the victims of moving scams that have left them with a drained bank account or missing belongings.
To help you make smart moving decisions, we’ve listed the five most common moving scams. We’ve also provided information on how to avoid these scams so you can go through your move with one less concern.
1. Inaccurate Estimates
When a moving company provides you with a moving estimate, that quote is what you plan on paying these professionals after the move. Some movers, though, will give you an over-the-phone estimate in an attempt to scam you. The final bill will be significantly higher than the original estimate because they just guessed at how big your belongings are and how much everything weighs.
Since moving costs are based on how much space your belongings use in the moving truck, how much everything weighs, and how far you have to travel, you need as precise an estimate as possible. Look for a mover who can provide you with a more accurate quote.
Additionally, look for a moving company that offers a “Guaranteed Not to Exceed” option for estimates. Essentially, this contract guarantees that your final bill is guaranteed not to exceed 10% of the original estimate, not including additional costs like unpacking fees.
If you sign a contract with this clause in it, carefully read the fine print of the document. The fine print can contain other clauses that say the guarantee doesn’t apply if the weight of your items is more than the original quote. Find a moving company that provides you with an accurate estimate without hidden caveats in the contract.
2. Requested Deposits
When you work with a reputable moving company, you will only be required to pay for the moving truck and services after your belongings have been delivered to your new home. If a mover tells you that you have to pay a large deposit or a cash deposit, don’t pay or sign for their services. These individuals could take the prepayment and never show up on your moving day.
Instead, work with a company that doesn’t require you to put down cash or a large amount of money to reserve their services. Also, check with the moving company at least once after you reserve the truck and book the services to ensure the movers will arrive at your home on time.
3. Multiple Names
Often when people have horrid experiences with certain companies or they are scammed, they report the moving company to the Better Business Bureau. This entity then gives the moving company poor ratings that affect its reputability.
Some sneaky moving companies change the names of their company to get around these poor ratings. When you do choose a moving company to work with, make sure they have a local address and are licensed and insured to do business.
When you call, they should answer their phones with the full name of the company, and they should be able to provide you with a few references if you ask for them. You can contact these consumers and ask them about their experiences with the moving company.
4. Hidden Fees
To make extra money, some companies will charge you additional fees you didn’t know you would encounter. When you receive the final bill, it should detail every individual charge that adds up to the total fee.
Examine the bill carefully, and keep an eye out for odd charges. For example, some scammers could charge you a fee if the moving van won’t fit on a narrow street. They’ll say they have to move your belongings to a smaller truck, and they’ll charge you for this transfer.
5. Blank Contracts
In addition to providing inaccurate estimates, some scammers will ask you to sign a blank contract, claiming that they’re busy now but that they’ll fill in the empty spaces later. They essentially ask you to take their word that they’ll fill in the contract with the correct information.
If you’re asked to sign a blank contract, refuse to endorse it, and find another moving company. When you do sign a filled-out contract, review it carefully. Make sure all the information matches what you and the movers have discussed. Once you sign the contract, it’s a legally binding document that will be hard to refute later on.
Turn to Wheaton, a Moving Company You Can Trust
Use the tips in this blog to recognize and avoid moving scams. When you’re ready to begin your next move, get in touch with Wheaton World Wide moving to request professional, reliable, and beneficial moving services.
We’ll be as accurate as possible if we provide you with an estimate, and we’ll keep you updated and informed about every aspect of your move including costs-every step of the way.