Moving Company Scams

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They’re bold, they’re shameless, they’re misleading, and they’re everywhere—they’re the people who create and perpetuate moving scams. Disreputable movers and their representatives can rip you off for big bucks at a time in your life when you’re really not prepared to absorb the unanticipated expense. Here are the top five most common malicious moving scams and the best ways to avoid falling for them:

Internet moving brokers: false “facts”

There are scores of websites on the internet that offer to gather moving estimates from a variety of companies for you. Some charge a fee; some don’t. Their estimates may or may not be accurate—moving companies aren’t required to adhere to rates provided by a third party—and the companies whose estimates they may provide might not even exist. Going through these disreputable brokers does nothing but waste your time and open you up to committing to use the services of a completely made-up company. Avoid these sketchy websites and deal directly with moving companies.

Last-minute price hikes

One of the most common moving scams is a last-second raise in the price of the move. This usually happens after your stuff is locked in the truck; the movers say they won’t unload until you fork over several hundred—or even several thousand—more dollars. What recourse do you have? If your contract specified the rate of your move, and didn’t include any clause for the movers to increase it, you shouldn’t have to pay any additional fees. Under the Carmack Amendment to the Household Transportation Act, you should be entitled to get back any fees you pay in excess. The best solution, though, is to avoid paying such fees in the first place by using a reputable mover.

Damage deception

Movers will often introduce a clause into contracts regarding potential damage to your possessions; clearing themselves from blame should any unexpected circumstances result in broken items. You should understand your contract and know what, if any, compensation you’ll receive from your moving company in the event of damage to your possessions. Find out if your movers’ insurance (or your own insurance) covers damage during a move, or consider taking out a policy to protect your items while they’re in transit. If you discover damage after the movers have left, you’ll need to be able to prove the movers caused it, so be sure to inventory your items while the movers are still present and point out any changes in the condition of your possessions. Having proof of the condition of your items will help you demonstrate that the movers were responsible for any issues.

Stealing your stuff

This isn’t quite a “scam” so much as a totally illegitimate action taken by some particularly disreputable movers. Instead of moving your things to your new location as requested, they simply make off with all your worldly possessions after loading them into their van. To avoid finding yourself in this unfortunate situation, do your research and select a company with a great reputation. If you do find yourself dealing with a company that’s stolen your possessions, you’ll be best aided by a solid moving contract and proof that you own the items your movers may have. This is where any pictures or property inventory you may have taken to get a renter’s insurance policy can come in handy.

5 Responses to “Moving Company Scams”

  1. September 17, 2007 at 8:30 am, Guest said:

    Statistics say that moving day is an important source of stress for ordinary people. I couldn’t agree more, we all experienced this stress at list once in our lives. But I also think we are to blame for that. You can’t just pack your entire house and leave just in one day, there are many things to take care of before that. I think we could all use some moving tips specially if we talk about scam…

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  2. October 26, 2007 at 10:36 am, Guest said:

    My reputable moving company missed the 120 day deadline to deny my claim and they did not pay it. If fact, they never sent an adjustor to look at it. I repeatedly contacted them for months and no one ever called me back. After one year, I wrote a letter to their corporate office and someone wrote back and told me that my file was in archive and that I would have to tell them what happened and when. What is my recourse?

    Reply

  3. August 15, 2008 at 8:05 am, Guest said:

    What people do not raelize is that if you lie to your moving company about the items you are shipping and the weight of your goods are WAY over the weight projected who do you think pays for the added weight which increase the fuel usage and not to mention space on the truck they could have sold if not for you lying about your inventory! hello people since when do you get things for free????

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  4. September 08, 2008 at 5:45 pm, Guest said:

    We used Freedom Van Lines 8/25/08. From Coppell, TX to Boulder, CO. Our experience was good. They were in and out of our home upon pick up. The forman was professional and courteous. It only took them a week and a half to deliver our household goods. After opening all our boxes, nothing was broken or missing. Of course like all moving company’s I was suspect, and they did add a couple small fees at delivery. Special thanks goes to the representative (Tekla) who gave me the quote, tour of the storage facility, and continuing customer service throughout the process. This was our first time hiring a moving company (prior military)and were very nervous of all the horrible rumors you hear about them. Also completely affordable. Overall I have to say we were very pleased.

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  5. October 29, 2008 at 1:42 pm, Guest said:

    Richard Burton and Stevens Van Lines. We just have to tell you about our moving experience. After living in our home for 23 years we found it time to move on to a new beginning. Our moving consultant came with over 20 years experience and was recognized by the American Moving & Storage Association so we were confident he would be able to handle our move. The movers arrived to pack a day before our move then the driver showed up later that same afternoon. He wasn’t scheduled to load until the next day so I was a little worried. The driver explained he was there to begin wrapping some of the antiques, place protection on the floors, and begin his inventory. To make a long story short…
    Richard Burton and Stevens Van Lines exceeded my expectations more than I could have ever expected. You can find Richard at [email protected]

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