Moving business is very lucrative and everybody wants a piece of the cake. Unfortunately, many don’t want to work for it, so they are trying to scam the unsuspected customers. While there are many reliable companies, fraudulent movers will always find a way to weasel in the scene. Luckily, there are some clear signs that will warn you that you are a target of an elaborate moving scam. This guide will show you the red flags of the moving scams that you need to pay attention to when choosing movers for your relocation.
They want a big deposit and they want it now
It’s nothing unusual that moving company ask you for a deposit. Still, the amount of the requested deposit can separate the fraudulent movers from the legitimate moving company. The amount of the deposit should be up to 20% of the total estimated moving costs. Anything higher is a sing that you should be suspicious. Ridiculously big amounts in the name of deposit are the huge red flag.
There’s no moving contract
Moving companies are selling their services to their customers. Like in every other business transactions, you will expect some kind of contract that obligates both parties to follow the agreement. As you should, because every legitimate moving company will give you a written agreement to sign. It is the only way for you to know that they will finish their job and the only insurance to them that you will pay them for that. It’s just a common sense – a piece of paper that protects both parties.
When a moving company says that the contract is unnecessary, that means that you are the new target of their moving scams.
Also, you should always read your moving agreement very carefully. Contracts are mandatory, so you should never sign something that you are not completely sure of.
They have very low rates
People always like a good bargain. Still, there are the cases when something that seems cheap comes at the very high price at the end. The relocation is the perfect example of that.
Since the moving industry is very competitive, it’s no wonder why the moving costs vary from one moving company to another. It’s called healthy competition and you can actually find really quality movers that are very affordable. The red flag for moving scams is unrealistically low offers. If some moving companies have much lower rates and quotas than competitive moving companies, that should raise your suspicion.
The biggest red flag for moving scams: No in-house estimation
Every moving company that doesn’t offer you in-house estimation is the shady one.
Just use common sense. How can somebody accurately estimate the total cost of your move if it didn’t do the inspection of your home and your belongings?
If you hire a moving company that refuses to do an in-house estimation, you are opening yourself to all kind of moving scams.
The representative of the company has to inspect your home and your belongings in order to give you the estimation of the moving costs. He has to take notes, identify possible relocation problems, take measurements and to list all of your inventory. Based on that, he can calculate the moving costs and present you the offer.
Moving companies that are trying to convince you that in-house estimation is unnecessary, are the ones that you should never hire for your relocation.
Most of the moving companies are offering free estimates online. While it’s a great way to get the general idea of how much your move may cost, it is not enough. That’s why the in-house estimation is necessary. Legitimate and reliable moving companies will even offer it free of charge.
Their website is questionable
In the days when online presence is very important, every moving company should have a website.
If the moving company does not exist on the web, it might not exist at all.
So if your movers don’t have a website, that’s a big warning sign. Even if they do, the information that you can find there are crucial in determining if you are dealing with the fraudulent movers. Take a look of the bluebellmovingandstorage.com – it’s a great example of how the website of the reliable and reputable moving company should look like.
Every legitimate and reliable moving company has to have a website with the following information:
- The official logo
- Phone number
- An actual physical address
- Their license number
- If the company is a member of some respectable moving association
Whether the website of the company has a website with all the information, you should check the Better Business Bureau and see if the company has some serious complaints or accusations about their business.
The movers only accept cash payments
If your movers don’t accept credit cards, it is a clear sign that they are involved in some moving scams.
Every respectable business these days will have that payment option. The moving industry isn’t different.
While you can get a better deal or a discount if you are paying in cash, but that shouldn’t be your only option.
Credit cards are leaving the paper trail that gives you the opportunity to dispute any issues that you have with your movers. That’s why fraudulent companies insist on cash payment.
They don’t offer additional services
While it isn’t mandatory, most of the reputable moving companies are providing more than basic moving services.
When movers offer a variety of moving services, it is the sign that they are competent and serious.
While movers that are offering just the loading, transporting and unloading of your stuff can be reliable, they can also be the scammers.
Companies that are conducting moving scams will focus on fewer services. More services, the higher the risk of exposing their fraudulent deeds.
They don’t have the proper moving equipment
If you purchase the additional packing service and your packers show with empty hands, that is alarming. They should arrive with full packing supplies, except if you didn’t agree otherwise.
The same goes for your movers. If they come without the proper equipment necessary for loading your belongings, you should use a different moving company. It is the sign that you are dealing with scammers or with incompetent movers. Either way, you won’t be satisfied with your move for sure.