How to Avoid Moving Company Scams

Many of those who have previously changed homes and moved long distances or relocated household goods know that not all moving companies are above board in what they charge customers. Some of the biggest moving companies can end up gouging customers or under-providing services, and the same goes for some small, local companies. Some basic guidelines will help those with relocation needs to avoid moving company scams and get the moving services they signed up for at the prices to which they agreed.


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    Use binding estimates. One good overall tool for price is the binding estimate. State and federal governments have requirements for businesses to provide an estimate, called a binding estimate where the final price cannot legally exceed the estimate plus 15 percent. The binding estimate can be a great financial safeguard for consumers.
    • Another type of estimate, called a non-binding estimate, can also be helpful in finalizing a moving agreement to contain costs. Research the particulars of what a business offers for price estimates.
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    Know the kinds of scams to look out for.
    • Another scam that bad moving companies will do is add on multiple fees after everything has been shipped, and in the end the cost is almost double compared to the first estimate. Again, this falls under the "bait and switch" category. An honest moving company will go over any itemized fees upfront before you agree for them to move you. Again, this takes care of any last minute surprises in your budget.
    • Some companies will say they are charging by weight, but in the end charge by how much space everything took up on the truck which is much more expensive. At the end of the day, you need to deal with a company that is honest and tells you exactly how the charge you. When you get a trustworthy moving company, they will tell you how they calculate your moving fees, and they will stick by that formula from beginning to end.
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    Specify service agreements. In most cases, companies are legally allowed to boost prices for any special services not included in the original contract, for instance, in boxing up unpacked items, moving them within a home, or providing storage or transit at a destination address.
    • The best way to get around price hikes for special services is to pinpoint the actual services that are included in the agreement. Moving company scams may involve vagueness of included services, where the company can spike the price for those extras after the fact. Good attention to included services will tighten up a moving contract.
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    Talk to the business owner or company rep for your area. The more you keep in contact with the company before the move, the less likely you are to get scammed.
    • Understand the workings of a smaller moving company. When you're making an agreement with a local discount mover, some of your biggest questions may be about the individuals hired onto the crew and how they will work with your personal belongings. Talking directly to the business owner and asking the tough questions will help give a customer peace of mind on moving day.
    • Find a reliable contact person for a larger moving company. One of the most effective techniques for dealing with a big, faceless moving company is to find a specific person within the company who will help facilitate a move every step of the way. Often, this person is an area rep or a dispatch person. Having an established go-to person for questions will help make a move more trouble-free.
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    Be available. Moving customers don't need to hover, but those who stay engaged in the process are less likely to get ripped off than customers who hide away during the moving process.
    • Try to meet movers halfway. Again, it's not necessary to be a constant observer while crews are hefting your big furniture up and down stairways, and sometimes, the customer can get in the way, but it's very useful to be on the premises in case any problems do arise. Companies and crews that encounter big problems without being able to contact the customer often end up adding on cost for their troubles.

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Categories: Buying Wisely | Moving House and Packing