Think of three things that can cause sleepless nights, dismay, and angst. If you answered taxes, death, or moving scams, you are not alone. As a matter of fact, according to studies released by the Better Business Bureau or BBB, they are receiving at least 12,000 complaints about moving companies or professionals every year.
That is why if you have got a move in the works, you are probably worried about it. If so, relax and take a deep breath because people will be surprised to discover that getting scammed by fraudulent movers can be avoided if they know what they are doing.
As a matter of fact, with good research and a little guidance, it is possible to take fraudulent companies and professionals out of the equation. Want to know the easiest way to avoid these scams? Hire a reputable professional moving firm. Listed below are some of the most common scams people need to look out for:
Possible scams and signs of fraudulent companies
One of the easiest ways to spot a shady mover or know if they have a murky past is if they changed their business name more than three times. Sometimes, a legitimate company does change its name and van line affiliations. That is ok if they have done it one to three times, but if they have done it more than three times in as many years, it should be a clear red flag.
Expert’s tips: Sometimes, all companies need to distance themselves from their shady past to change their name and repaint their trucks (that’s if they have trucks at all).
It is also an excellent idea to ask for a copy and check their business license. If their business license is less than six months old, expired, or the business name is different compared to what is on their website, make sure to ask why. If the client is wary and satisfactory answers are not forthcoming, people can trust their instincts and look for other companies.
To find out more about how to a verify business license, visit this site for more information.
Online and fly-by-night moving brokers
There is a significant distinction to be made between brokers and movers. Here is a good rule of thumb to make the distinction simple – moving companies own moving trucks, and brokers don’t. These companies also need a spacious warehouse and trained professionals to pack and move their clients’ valuable items.
Brokers only need post office boxes and working telephone lines, and they can now offer services – they are in business. They usually misrepresent themselves as an actual moving company to unsuspecting customers. Once they have booked a move with their new client, they will look for real companies – usually, companies that provide low-cost services and at the lower end of the reputability spectrum.
Their criteria of a “good” moving company is someone who can offer the cheapest, with little to no regard for meeting their client’s expectation. It is a scam as old as the Bible and one, people do not have to fall for. Let us be clear; do not dismiss a reputable company just because it is a broker. Be cautious of online brokers that don’t have a reputation of being a legit and reputable organization.
No attention to detail
After clients compiled a thorough list of possible companies, they may want to give these organizations a call. If they had landed on the company website and cannot find a working telephone number, there is a big chance that that organization is fraudulent and move on.
Expert’s tip: Shady movers want the client’s telephone number, but they don’t want customers to have theirs.
If customers have chosen wisely and spoke with real customer service, they will want or need to know the necessary information about the move like:
Where are customers moving from and to?
The size of their apartment or home
When will the customer be moving?
These details are vital. Eventually, the organization will suggest sending a representative to the customer’s house to provide a rough but accurate estimate. If the firm is throwing numbers around and they are not willing to schedule an appointment, it is a sign that you are getting set up.
Want to know more about BBB? Visit https://www.investopedia.com/what-is-the-better-business-bureau-5024818 for more details.
Unexpected additional fees at the end of the move
It is legal for companies to charge clients for services that were not included in their original estimate. Additional fees may be added for last-minute services like truck and storage inaccessibility problems requiring shuttles. With that being said, most moves should not end with significant surprises and big headaches. Fraudulent firms usually add huge fuel charges, jacked-up weight, and bloated insurance policies to the final bill to line their pockets with money. The bad news is, these organizations target unsuspecting customers like older people.
Expert’s tip: Before hiring a professional, make sure to know your rights
Discrepancies in the estimated weight
No scam is more common that low-balling clients when it comes to estimates. When firms intentionally give the potential client an unreasonable low-ball estimate with the intent of increasing the cost of the move later on. It is more common than people might think, but there are ways people can protect themselves.
First, get multiple estimates from organizations they have deemed to be legitimate. Though there is no way even for expert consultants to know the actual weight of items, they need to get close. Compare estimates from different movers. Ideally, the weight should be 10% of each other. If one is a lot lower, there is a big chance that it was a set-up.
The state requires Charlotte movers to weigh each shipment individually, and they need to do it with a close to the full fuel tank. Most trailer tractors can hold at least 400 gallons of fuel. At about six pounds per gallon, fraudulent drivers may show up with less fuel, load the items, and refuel before the weighing. If the driver added 200 gallons of fuel, it could add more or less 1,200 pounds to the shipment’s weight.
Expert’s tip: Ask the company driver to show you what is inside their fuel tanks if you are worried about getting scammed.