While most moving companies out there are legitimate, some aim to take advantage of people during a stressful move, while people are feeling frazzled and are just looking to get it all over with. This guide is here to ensure that you don’t fall victim to a moving company scam.
If you are in Visalia and are looking for a legitimate, reliable, friendly, and transparent moving company, contact us today for a free moving quote! Moving out of your home can be tough; Pack N Move makes it easy.
Warning Signs That a Moving Company is Running a Scam
Catching on to a moving company that is running a scam as early as possible will save you stress and money in the long run. Here are four signs that a moving company may be running a scam:
#1: Unclear (Or No) Terms of Service
If a mover doesn’t provide you with a contract, write up your own and make them sign it. If they refuse to make pricing clear, or are being evasive about what everything is going to cost, there’s a high likelihood that they are preparing to price gouge after they get everything in the truck and can hold your property hostage. If you are speaking with a moving company and they are trying to hurry the conversation past pricing, that’s a big red flag.
#2: Beware of Suspicious Bids
If a bid seems too good to be true, it probably is. Always discuss with potential moving companies the complete scope of what you’re paying for, as they may be planning on adding hidden fees once they get you locked-in. Some moving company scammers use a volume-based bid to make it sound like you’ll be paying less than you actually end up having to pay. This measure may be acceptable for smaller moves, but if you’re moving a significant amount of goods, especially across state lines, volume-based moves are in most cases actually illegal. Insist on a weight conversion factor, and if the mover refuses, you should report them to the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration).
Another sign of a scammer is that the bids are based on little information. If they haven’t seen the household or are only communicating by phone, they likely don’t have enough information to give you an accurate bid — which means that they already have in mind a way of extracting more money from you and they are just trying to sink their teeth in by enticing you with a temptingly cheap bid. Lastly, if a contract is not put in writing, you will have no legal recourse if you end up with your belongings held “hostage” for hidden fees, and may have no choice but to pay up. Don’t let this happen to you!
#3: They Request a Deposit
No reputable moving company will demand cash or any sizable deposit before moving your belongings. In general, you pay on delivery. Paying upfront gives scammers license to mistreat your belongings, or hold them hostage down the road for extra fees.
#4: They Keep Changing Their Name
A moving company that keeps changing their name may be trying to get around scam busters like the Better Business Bureau by always doing business under a new name. If the company doesn’t have a local address or information about licensing and insurance, it’s probably a bad idea to work with them. When you call them, they should be answering their phone with their full business name, not just something generic like “moving services”.
Don’t Fall Victim to a Moving Scam
How do you avoid falling for these scams? We’ll talk more about this in our next blog post, but, here are the broad points:
- Do your research
- Ask for at least three references
- Make sure they have insurance
- Verify that they are licensed
- Insist on a clear, no-hidden fees contract
Do these things, and you’ll protect yourself from ever falling for a moving company scam.
If you live in the Visalia, CA area and are gearing up for a residential or commercial move, check out all the packing and moving services Pack N Moves offer, and give us a call today. Our reliable, trustworthy movers will provide you exceptional, totally transparent moving services from start to finish, with no hidden fees or other such nonsense. We look forward to being part of this milestone in your life!