The Bekins Blog
10 Warning Signs of a Moving Scam
When you’re dealing with the stress and upheaval of a move, the last thing you want to deal with is a moving scam. When you hire movers, you want to be able to trust that they will be honest with you and get your belongings to your new home safely.
In this blog, we discuss 10 warning signs to look out for in order to avoid moving scams.
1. Large Down Payment
Most legitimate companies will only ask for a down payment of 20 percent or less of the full price. In fact, many movers don’t even ask for a down payment. Instead, you pay upon delivery. This way the company is held responsible for actually getting your belongings to the final destination safe and on time.
A company that asks for a significantly higher down payment is likely to be a scam. They may not even show up for the move and simply take the down payment.
2. Cash-Only Payments
While it’s true you can sometimes get a better deal paying with cash, be careful if the movers won’t accept anything but cash. Credit card payments leave a paper trail and give you the capability to dispute charges. A legitimate moving company has the ability to accept credit payments.
3. Extremely Low Rates
While a large down payment is suspicious, rates that are too low are also suspicious. Moving is not something that can be done for extremely low rates. The company needs to pay their employees and pay for vehicle upkeep and gas. Be sure to compare the estimate you’re given to other moving companies’ estimates. Scams like these may double the price last minute and rely on you being unable to find someone else.
4. No Logo
If your movers show up on moving day with an unmarked vehicle or a rental, there may be cause for concern. There’s no reason for a moving company to not want to put their logo on their trucks. A rolling billboard is perfect advertising while they’re getting paid to move your belongings. If your mover can’t afford a logo and phone number on the side of a moving truck, chances are the business isn’t legitimate.
5. No Address or Office
Most companies, including moving companies, have websites. This presence gives you the perfect opportunity to check for a possible scam. If there’s not an address listed on the movers’ website or if the address is a P.O. box or just a city, you should question it. It’s also a good idea to check if what looks like a real address actually houses a business rather than a vacant lot.
6. No Contract
Any real moving company will have you sign a contract. The contract includes details such as the delivery date, the estimated price, and needed supplies. The contract should also specify that there are no additional and unexpected costs such as mandatory tips or a driver’s fee. A contract is extremely important to keep your interests and belongings safe as it protects both you and the moving company.
7. Many Extreme Reviews
You always want to check the reviews before hiring a moving company. Of course, too many negative reviews stand out as a testament of their bad service. However, you should also keep an eye out for too many overly positive reviews as it could be a sign of false reviewers. Check out reviews on reputable moving sites before coming to a decision.
One of the ways to find out if your mover is legitimate is checking to see if they are a certified ProMover from the American Moving & Storage Association (AMSA). The ProMover program is designed to identify “rogue movers,” giving customers a clear indicator of which companies are reputable, professional interstate movers. Search for your mover on moving.org.
8. Scheduling Trouble
If the movers keep changing the time or date of your move, be wary. If the team arrives late for the move or for an on-site estimate, be wary.
While some scheduling changes or tardiness is acceptable, a high amount of scheduling trouble could indicate a scam. You don’t want plans to change last minute.
9. Casual Phone Etiquette
Any professional business will answer a phone call by clearly saying the name of the company. If a mover answers the phone with a simple “hello” or “movers”, they may not be a legitimate moving company. However friendly and nice the movers may be, there should always be a level of professionalism in your interactions.
10. No On-Site Quote
Most moving companies like to send a representative to your home for a moving estimate. Moving prices are not only based on distance, but also the weight and amount of space your belongings take up. Many homeowners also have more belongings than they may think, so a good estimator looks at your home and decide on a quote based on an estimated weight and bulk.
If a moving company refuses to come to your home and do an on-site quote, you may have a problem. Chances are the estimate they give you will be very unrealistic.
As you prepare for an upcoming move, do the due diligence required to ensure that your movers have the resources to finish your move efficiently and safely.