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According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, nearly 35 million Americans relocate each year. Fortunately, most moves are accident-free, but the number of complaints about moving has steadily increased over the past decade. The best protection against moving fraud is a well-informed consumer who does his homework every step. Here’s an overview of the most common types of moving scams, red flags to look out for, tips on protecting yourself, and how to report your business.
Types of Moving Scams
1. make a phone call
Moving companies that don’t insist on spot-checking your household items will give you an unseen estimate—often too good to be true. Homeowners often have more property than they realize, and good appraisers don’t focus too much on specific items but rather estimate their size and weight. (A queen-sized bed without a headboard or footboard weighs far less than a queen-sized bed with a gorgeous, heavy wood frame.) Moving price depends not only on mileage but also on the weight of your items and how much the cargo takes up in the truck Space.
An “estimator” to take a quick look at your home without opening the cabinets and notice what you’re moving would be off-topic. A good appraiser will ask you some questions (“Are you going to ship all the groceries in your pantry, or are you going to eat them before you leave?” “What are you going to sell at the flea market?”; if so, what?”).
It’s your responsibility to provide as much information as possible (“We’re going to buy a king-size bed here to take with me, so add up the cost” or “I’m going to donate these 20 bookshelves to the library, so turn it off. “These people don’t.) Every year thousands of people detain their belongings as liars who downplay your offer and then refuse to deliver your belongings until you overpay by hundreds or thousands of dollars – cash.
3. “Required” deposit
A reputable moving company won’t ask for cash or a large down payment before you move. You always pay for delivery. When you pay in advance, you have no control over when you see your items again. When you pay, you use your credit card, which can help you fight fraudulent activity.
Some companies circumvent the Better Business Bureau and other scammers by constantly doing business under new names. Ensure the company has a local address and information about licensing and insurance. You should answer calls with the company’s full name, not just “moving services” or other generic names.
5. the moving company did not provide the information required by the country
Federal law requires moving companies to provide you with a booklet called “Your Moving Rights and Responsibilities” during the planning stages of your move (not after you’ve packed everything). If you don’t get one, choose another porter.
6. Packaging cost
Rule 22 of moving is that if you pack your belongings, the mover is generally not responsible for any damage you cause. If you let your hauler fill them, you’re overpaying for boxes and other packing supplies, not to mention time and labor. If you go the latter route, ask about the Packers’ experience. Most people are careful, but others throw whatever they can into the box and lock it up – they don’t care if something breaks or bends. In other words, you’re better off packing it yourself or hiring a professional packer.
7. Other additional fees
Living in a two-story house or moving into a one-story home? You may be charged additional fees. Moving in or out of a 10th-floor apartment? Do you have a narrow street that cannot accommodate moving trucks? There is an additional charge for transferring your items into a smaller van. Ask ahead so you don’t face unexpected payments or blatant overpayments.
8. Package contract
No matter how much you like your moving company, never sign a blank contract. Be sure to get everything in writing. Your estimate and any additional fees and your pickup and delivery details should be there.
Read your contract from top to bottom and ensure all your items are listed. Don’t settle for a box packaged only as “office supplies” unless you only see it full of notepads and paper clips. If the laptop is not marked on the checklist you signed before the driver left, don’t expect it to be in the box when it arrives. You cannot claim anything that is not on the inventory list.
9. “Guaranteed” Quotes
Federal law requires one of two types of relocation contracts. A no-obligation valuation means the company cannot demand payment over 10% of the original valuation, which is due within 30 days of delivery. The binding quotation is intended as a guaranteed price for relocation and all additional services and services. If other services (such as unpacking) are required, should pay the extra payment within 30 days of delivery.
Think you’re getting a “no more” ironclad, binding contract? Read the fine print. It’s often said that unless your item weighs more than the appraised value, you won’t go over that price. It would help if you had a written assurance that this is the final price – or be happy with the weight estimate you get.
Three different movers can give estimates up to several thousand pounds, so in some cases, you might be more confident in a higher assessment. (The movers weigh their trucks empty and then consider your belongings on them again to determine the weight of your belongings.)
10. Trading outside of time windows
Hands up: How many people have moved to another state and still have at least a few boxes open a year later? Pray there isn’t any damage to the interior as you only have nine months – which is faster than you think – to report any issues to the moving company and file an insurance claim.
Try to get help from a friend as the hauler unloads and unpacks and searches each crate to check for any apparent damage. Ideally, be aware of the issue on the copy of the moving bill of lading before you sign it. Your moving company then has 30 days to acknowledge receipt of your claim. They must reject your claim or payment offer within 120 days of receiving your claim. It’s easier for them to deny if you don’t have before and after evidence or if they don’t see the damage before leaving your new home.