Scams in this industry take advantage of customers with little to no experience. Scammers usually advertise pretty low prices to trick possible clients into falling for moving schemes. If they are successful, they might steal people’s money or their possessions. This article will take a closer look at possible red flags people can look for, how to protect themselves from these scams, and how to find legitimate movers.
Red flags to look for
There are red flags in every industry, and these red flags always indicate moving scams. If this is your first time hiring professional movers or you have not moved in quite a while, it is good to check the most common signs you are looking for when moving scams.
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People cannot find their information
If the homeowner is on the company’s website and cannot find the business’s physical address, registration, or proof of insurance that is a huge red flag. Another warning sign is if clients call and they hear a response on the telephone, starting with a generic name instead of a specific firm name.
The organization only does telephone estimates
If a firm refuses to come to the client’s property to make a final estimate, that is another red flag. Some fraudulent individuals make rough estimates over the telephone or mobile phone, accept the client’s deposit, and disappear. A legit firm comes to the client’s house to determine accurate estimates. It is also a warning if a firm grudgingly agrees to inventory customer’s items but provides no more than a short glance before giving their clients an estimate.
They demand a substantial down payment
Small down payments are pretty normal, but fraudulent professionals usually ask for large sums of money as down payments, pocket the money, and disappear like a thief in the night. Another popular scam involves holding the client’s valuables and demanding more money before they return them.
Bids are pretty suspicious
Bids can be suspicious in a couple of ways. If the quote is very low compared to other quotes that is a warning sign. Not only that, be cautious of firms who refuse to put their estimates in black and white (in writing).
Moving firms do not mention the client’s responsibilities and rights
By law, a licensed mover needs to provide their clients with the “Rights and Responsibilities When Moving” before any interstate moves.
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The firm has gone through multiple name changes
If the customer can trace the firm’s history through multiple name changes that is a warning sign. Firms with a subpar client review usually do this kind of thing as a way to throw off future clients and get around past negative coverage.
The agency insists their quote is ironclad
If they say their quote is iron clad and set in stone or will not change, customers need to be pretty careful. Most quotes are always subject to change if the weight of the customer’s belongings is more than expected. Be cautious of any firm that promises not to change the quotes under any instances.
Insurance “covers” everything
If the mover claims that their insurance policy covers everything, we mean “EVERYTHING,” be doubtful. The usual protection starts at 60 cents/pound per item. It means that firms reimburse clients that the amount of the actual weight of the belongings if they are lost, damaged, or destroyed.
Tips to help protect clients from scams and fraudulent companies or professionals
It helps to know what practices can help protect customers from scams and fraudulent individuals. Take these simple steps to minimize your chances of getting scammed.
Pay with credit cards
Car payments are insured by banks in case something is fishy or goes wrong. If people get scammed after paying with paper money, do not expect to see the money again.
Confirm the firm’s licenses
If a person is making an interstate move, they need to use this tool from the United States Department of Transportation to find out if the firm they want to hire is officially registered.
Know the conditions and terms
People need to read their contracts and understand the fine print before signing anything. Look for the pickup and drop-off dates. It needs to be perfectly clear how the firm calculated the charges.
Keep inventories of the items that are being moved
A written list considers the best way for clients to keep track of everything they own. Consider numbering all the boxes to make sure everything is in place and accounted for.
Ask tons of questions
Suppose you are confused, always ask tons of questions. Legit movers should always be willing and happy to help. If you are pushed back for asking too many questions, look for another firm or professional.
Check with the FMCSA or the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
If the property owner is not sure whether they have encountered a fraudulent company, they can check with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. This organization is an essential regulator of commercial movers like the Charlotte moving company and can help people make sure that they hire a reputable firm or professional.
Do not sign any blank or partial contract
Whether customers sign should be all-inclusive, people need to make sure they understand the fine print before signing anything and do not be afraid to ask a lot of questions.
Do not allow agencies to load your valuables into unmarked vans or trucks
If the van or truck is unmarked, there is a good chance that they are fraudulent agencies or professionals. These scammers love driving unmarked trucks to steal items or hold them as a hostage to get more money from unsuspecting victims.
Always plan in advance
If homeowners plan in advance, there is a good chance they will find a reputable, legitimate, and experienced agency or professional. A longer search time provides property owners more time to do some research and makes them less likely to get scammed.
Ask realtors for good recommendations
If homeowners have worked with or are working with a reputable real estate agent, they can recommend reliable moving firms.