Most people may find it a little complicated to get the right moving crew to help with their relocation, particularly since there are so many stories about movers scamming their clients. There are ways you can avoid being the next target of such movers, and one of them is to know how they operate, that way it will be easy for you to notice all the red flags. You will find that you have saved yourself a lot of money and hustle of being scammed by making sure you have hired professional moving service.
A relocation scam refers to a deceitful and illegal deal between a moving company and the person relocating. According to the Better Business Bureau’s Scam Tracker, there have been over a hundred and twenty-nine reported scams over the last year, amounting to over ten thousand dollars stolen per scam.
In the last year as well, foreclosures have risen to over thirty percent which means that moving and storage scams are on the rise as well. This is a bad thing for the individuals who have already lost their home since it means that they will go at a further loss when they get tricked into giving their money to fraudsters. Most of these scammers have perfected the art and are so smooth that their lies can fool just about anyone.
However, this should not frighten you into deciding to carry out the move on your own since it is very easy to protect yourself. Below are some great tips by Best Moves on how one can verify that the money they spend matches the quotation that they got and that their possessions get to them unharmed and within the time limit that had been set.
THE BIG SCAMS
This is when you get a low quote from a moving company, and once they have come over and your property is already in their trucks, they then change the price and hike it, sometimes going as much as doubling or tripling what they had given you, to begin with. Why it is referred to as the hostage is because if you fail to cooperate and give them what they are asking for, the moving crew refuses to hand over your goods until the minute you agree to pay the outrageous amount.
- How to avoid it?
Provide a detailed list of items that are planned to be relocated. Indicate the weight correct or at least do not underweight your items intentionally.
The Bait and Switch
How this scam works it that the first quote you get will be based on the weight of the belongings. However, when the movers finally get you the bill, they tell you that the cubic feet of the items went past the estimate. Just like the hostage situation above, these movers also hold your possessions until you pay them what they ask.
- How to avoid it?
Ask for a contract up front. Read the agreement carefully, do not sign the contract in a rush.
Last Minute Cancellation Or No-Show
For most of these rip-offs, the company always has to ask for an up-front deposit which they request for in cash. Most of the time they ask for half of the total price and once you agree to send this deposit, you find that they do not show up on the D-day, leaving you stranded and short of cash.
- How to avoid it?
Book only reputable movers, read carefully reviews, get advice from people you trust, do not hire strangers, we recommend you to hire movers from camovers.ca
You have picked movers to assist with your relocation, but halfway through things, they start putting in extra clauses into the first contract. A couple of the most common excuses for this is that they might tell you that the quote was only for relocation and did not include charges for packing, or they could tell you that you had not finished boxing up your belongings and so it took up more of their time.
- How to avoid it?
Before the moving day, ask your movers what is included in the total bill. Get all the rates: hourly rates, travel time fee, additional stop fee, packing service, packing supplies, stairs, bulky and heavy items, etc.
Delivery Time Frame
Here, the client finds that their items get to their destination not only days but weeks late. If the moving company you have hired has a licensing violation, for example, they could be caught and impounded by the Department of Transport together with all your possessions inside it. Another time when this can happen is if the moving company pairs up your delivery with the next person who has hired them, and keeps your items at the back and gets to the next guy’s place before yours. This forces you to spend more cash on supplementary things as you are forced to wait for your things to get to you.
- How to avoid it?
Best Moves recommend you to contact regularly the movers you hired. Get the information on where is the truck at the moment. Check weather conditions, if there is a snow storm it could slow down the driver. If the road is under construction it also could slow down the delivery. Even if the company is professional and reputable, the truck might be stuck in the traffic jump for hours on the highway, because of a car accident.
While moving troubles can vary, some issues tend to crop up more often than others. The damaged goods are among the most common moving complaints. Sometimes movers damage floors and walls inside of the house or apartment.
- What to do?
Make sure you understand what you’re covered for if something breaks or goes missing. The other option is to buy full replacement value protection, meaning all items that are lost, broken or damaged will be either repaired, replaced with like items, or get a cash settlement. The exact cost for full value protection may vary by a mover, so be sure to ask.
The contract may state you’ll need to notify the company of damage and file a claim in a certain period of time, such as within 24 hours or 2 weeks of delivery. So, once you noticed that something is damaged, inform the company immediately.
Lost Items or Mishandling on Reloading
No one wants to think about it but unfortunately, it happens – there are untrustworthy movers that let people’s things disappear. These are rare cases of unethically and unprofessionally working companies and yet it would be a lie if we said that there’s no need to talk about this matter because it is more of an exception rather than a rule.
- What to do?
Almost every moving company has a system for tracking lost items. Moving companies are aware of the consequences of lost items. So once they get your report, they’ll start tracking your items. Your misplaced boxes might be unintentionally delivered to another customer as some moving trucks can ship more than one household. Depending on the type of missing items, you may give the movers a day or two to track it.
Anyway, whatever the cause, the right thing to do in case of lost household goods is to talk to the moving company and file a claim. Most moving companies offer valuation coverage that is of no extra charge for you and which equals usually to $0.60 per pound which is very little. That is why it is always good when relocating to ask for full valuation coverage – it is paid additionally but it’s based on the value of your items. If movers lost items then you will get some more money which is going to be fair if the item(s) lost were expensive. You can additionally file a claim with the BBB – the Better Business Bureau.
Moving Scale Tickets
Scam movers often practice deceptive methods to cheat on the weight of the shipment. After they pack and load the client’s personal effects, they will then inform the naive client that the “actual” weight is higher than the “expected” weight estimate. So basically, they give the client a much lower weight at first then afterward show them the higher one so they can charge for the supposed “unexpected weight”.
- How to avoid it?
One of your best options is to get a binding estimate. This means getting a fixed contract for the entire move wherein any changes will not cause fluctuations in the final price. The thing with binding estimates is that they’re a bit higher than non-binding estimates at first, but remember, this way the movers can’t cheat you in between the pickup and delivery.
But of course, nothing beats good old research. Calling and consulting with the Better Business Bureau is also a good option. Check if they have a good score and if there are any past complaints with their service.
WHAT NOT TO DO
Avoid Signing Half Contracts
If a moving contract is incomplete or half done, do not sign it. Verify that you have all the details written down before the paper is signed. It should also include any additional costs, the quotations and the dates of delivery.
It is always better to box up your belongings for yourself. If you let the moving company do it for you, some of them may charge a lot for the supplies and the labor, only to toss in the objects haphazardly. Check that they have experience when it comes to packing before letting them do it for you.
Additional Moving Fees
These come up if there will be any stairs, narrow streets or detours. Sometimes movers may give you varied quotes, and it may be better to go with the higher one to be on the safe side.
HOW WE PROTECT YOU
Choose Your Mover Carefully
Don’t hire just anyone to handle your precious possessions. With Best Moves you should be sure that all our moving members are trustworthy and reputable moving companies and this is the most important step when it comes to protecting your move. To avoid moving scams and rogue movers, Best Moves advice you to review our members. All our membered moving companies are licensed professionals that possess not only proper moving equipment but also excellently trained moving crews, share same core customer service values. Using our moving quote form you are guaranteed to receive at least 5 moving quotes from these professional moving services across Canada. Before hiring movers, be sure to review all the moving quotes you received, to compare and choose the best moving service for your relocation project.
In-home Moving Estimate
Should you go for an onsite estimate? Absolutely!
The benefits of an on the on-site survey cannot be overrated. Should you only book with a company that is offering the onsite estimate and reject the other offers that do not include it? Absolutely no!
An onsite estimate is only possible in the mover’s hometown or regional office location. In all other instances, the quality of the estimate will degrade or add cost to the moving quote as the moving company will recourse to hiring an interdependent estimator.
We have a number of professional moving services with only several locations across Canada, which, as you may imagine, is limiting the area of reach for onsite estimates. But they will still collect all the information regarding your move including:
- locations layout etc,
- and will provide you with an accurate approximate estimated price.
- This is how most of the Canadians move early.
Remember, the final price will be known only when the truck will be lifted on the moving scale and you will know the actual weight of your belongings.
Best Moves recommends that you ask for scale tickets… all the time.
Take Photos of All Belongings Before Moving
Before packing your belongings, take photos of all of your inventory. This way, if you have to file a claim you can show a before and after photo of the damaged item. Having photos on-hand as evidence will help make your case more plausible and will hold the movers accountable for their actions.
Why Are Moving Deposits Required?
Charging a moving deposit is standard practice – many moving companies request a down payment to reserve a moving date, especially during the peak moving season when their services are in high demand. It is both, insurance for the movers and a bond – if the customer cancels the move, they will have some compensation for their lost profit opportunities. The moving deposit, however, should be only for a small amount and should be refundable with sufficient notice of cancellation.
So, when looking for moving help and comparing the services of different moving companies, you’re strongly advised to compare their payment policies as well and find out if they charge a deposit or not before making your choice.
Yet, practice shows that most reputable companies do ask for a deposit, especially in big cities where the rate of house moves is very high.
In any case, however, the deposit should be a few hundred dollars at most – anything between $100and $500 is considered reasonable. Larger down payments are not typical and should be seen as red flags of moving fraud.
How to Detect a Fake Moving Review?
It’s not too hard to guess why fake moving reviews exist. Basically, it’s about the problems they create for all the people who are searching for trustworthy moving companies in order to hire their quality services. Bogus moving reviews further complicate the choice of a truly good mover so it’s important that you know how to detect potential red flags while browsing through consumer reviews so that you manage to separate fact from fiction.
- Fake positive moving reviews and 5-star ratings are meant to boost the online reputation of a moving company in a desperate attempt to cover poor moving services, unprofessional and incompetent behavior, and even rude attitude. For bad moving companies, fake customer reviews seem like one of the few remaining options to lure people to book their services.
- Fake negative moving reviews and 1-star ratings are less frequent but they still exist, sometimes left in an attempt to mislead potential clients and damage the good reputation of trusted professional moving companies. Or sometimes negative reviews are a sign of poor communication between a customer and the moving company.
Best Moves highly recommends you to carefully read not only the customer reviews but also the comments, replies, and reactions left by the moving company beneath the review.