Identifying Moving Scams
Identifying Moving Scams has become more important than ever. With the very active housing market, the Covid-19 pandemic and the huge move to working from home for a large portion of the workforce, moves are in high demand. When the market is so busy and there are only so many dates to choose from for a move, illegitimate movers can easily take advantage of unsuspecting consumers.
What is a moving scam?
A moving scam is a scam by a moving company in which the company provides an estimate, loads the goods, and then states a much higher price to deliver the goods, effectively holding the goods as lien. Wikipedia
Hiring the wrong mover can put you at risk of having your possessions “held for ransom” or even worse. There are illegitimate movers that have damaged, stolen and even dumped the personal items of clients who have refused to pay the higher scam fees.
Identifying Moving Scams
Moving is a high stress time. When you have to move and are finding it difficult to contract a professional mover to meet your critical dates, it’s easy to let your guard down. Before contracting any mover, we encourage people to be diligent and perform important checks on any moving company. A surprisingly low price could be the first red flag that you identify, here are some others:
- If a moving company is willing to give you a quote without a full visual inspection of what needs to be moved. Note this can be done in person or virtually but is VERY important to quoting you most accurately for your relocation.
- Including unfamiliar wording or many complicated conditions in the initial quote without providing clarity when requested.
- Are they located where they state that they are working from? Be sure to check for the street address of the company and verify that it matches all the paperwork you receive, their website, and correspondences. Not only should the address be verified but it should be an office address. Phone numbers can also be verified as well as email addresses. Take the time to look for the business in additional directories and review sites online.
- Not all reviews are real – if there is an extra-large quantity of 5 star reviews online,s they may have been “purchased” and are not legitimate. Often businesses can get friends, family, employees, and others to post reviews that were not based on actual moves.
- If a mover demands a wire transferred large deposit or payment via electronic or digital means or cash before a move.
How to Avoid Moving Scams
You can avoid falling victim to a moving scam by first checking to see if the mover you are researching is licensed. In New Jersey you can call NJWMA at 732-341-3934 or by contacting the Division of Consumer Affairs.
- Check with Co-workers, Friends and Family that have recently moved who can recommend a moving company they recently used and provide you with feedback of their moving experience.
- Check with AMSA. This organization keeps an up-to-date list of Pro-Mover certified local and long-distance movers on file.
- Research Companies Thoroughly. Use online tools like BBB and Google and other sites online to see what is being said about these companies and compare their contact information, addresses, etc.
- Have Movers Document Everything – Get a quote and any other discussed services in writing – read everything and watch for possible loopholes. Keep all paperwork in a safe place with you during your move. If you have a loss or damage to your possessions, you usually only have 9 months to report and file a claim. Be sure to note any problems on the mover’s copy of the inventory before signing off as “received”. The mover must respond within 30 days and the claim must be paid within 120 days. It is wise to photograph all your high-end furniture, antiques, collectibles and valuables prior to packing and immediately after any damage is noticed.
- Know Your Rights. Read all your contracts and be sure you are provided informational packet labeled “Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move” as federal law requires all licensed movers provide. This can also be obtained online or on their website. If you have questions, expect a professional and legitimate moving company to provide clear answers and not give you a run around or half-truths.
The most important thing you can do to identify and prevent moving scams is to do your homework.
Try to plan your move as far in advance as you possibly can. By planning ahead, you are more likely to secure your moving date when you need to move, instead of trying to get those dates once all are booked, leaving you scrambling and desperate. By collecting a minimum of 3 quotes you can start comparing offers and if you see something that “looks amiss” – ask for information until you’re satisfied with the answers.
Get a Quote for Your Move from The Liberty Group
Because The Liberty Group understands customer-needs, we believe we offer the best and most current information to prepare for customers for their residential and commercial moving. The Liberty Group offers the options of FREE in-person and virtual estimation visits! By using our easy appointment system, you can schedule this for FREE with your very own smart phone. Just call 908-964-8390 and schedule your virtual estimate at your convenience.
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