Like any other business, the relocation industry has its share of moving scams. You put your belongings into the hands of strangers and the move doesn’t go as planned: your items get damaged, the move costs more than the agreed-upon price, or even worse your items are stolen or lost. But your move doesn’t have to be a nightmare. With a little bit of research, you can avoid potential scams and headaches. Here are some tips for you to avoid moving scammers:
Conduct Cursory Research
Word of mouth is often the best method for evaluating a product or company. A little online research can reveal a lot about moving companies. Check everything from reviews to social media sites to anything else you can find on the company. Speak to friends, co-workers, and your real estate agent to get recommendations. Then make a list of potential companies and check the ratings of the companies on your short list on the American Moving & Storage Association and the Better Business Bureau websites.
Check the Company’s Licensing
By law, moving companies must adhere to federal and state licensing. To make sure you are dealing with a reputable company that is licensed to operate legally, have them provide you with a national Department of Transportation (DOT) and a state license number. You can call the corresponding agencies to verify that information. Also, check that the moving company is fully insured.
Ask about Insurance
If moving within the state of New York, your moving company must offer basic liability at no charge to you. They should also offer added valuation and third party insurance options. Call and find out what their terms and costs are. If they don’t offer these, it could be one of many moving scams!
Request a Written Estimate
You can get two kinds of estimates for moving. A binding one provides you with a guaranteed price for the move. A non-binding estimate means the price can go up by 10 percent if the work is more than anticipated. A moving estimate takes into account volume of goods, materials used (like boxes), insurance and valuations, and add-on services. If anything is left blank or seems suspicious on estimates, don’t be shy to ask for clarification to avoid moving scams.
Watch for Red Flags
If anything seems fishy, such as a lack of a physical address for the company, lack of branding (trucks with no logos, or movers in plain clothes), be wary and move on to another company. There are many decent options out there and with a little research, your move can be a success.
Don’t Pay A Deposit
Upfront deposits are not the norm in the moving industry. Never give a relocation company money prior to a move. Instead, move on to another company who will not ask for a deposit.