Better Business Bureau serving Canton Region and Greater West Virginia offers tips and advice for consumers to avoid fraudulent practices.
May marks the beginning of summer and the busiest time for moving. Unfortunately, more people moving means more potential for scams. Always do your homework when hiring a moving company and be on the lookout for the following warning signs.
HOW MOVING SCAMS WORK:
Most moving scams take one of these three approaches:
• Consumers receive a quote and pay a deposit. But the “movers” never show up.
• The moving company provides a quote based on expected weight and, after loading the truck, they inform you that the load is over the expected weight and you must pay an additional fee. Most of the time, the fee is significantly more expensive, sometimes as much as double the original estimate.
• The most disruptive and difficult to anticipate of all the moving scams begins with everything appearing to be going well. The movers provide an estimate, arrive on time and load your belongings on a truck. However, this is where the interaction turns disastrous. When the truck fails to arrive at its destination, either your belongings are simply gone or the company requires you to pay an additional fee to have them delivered, holding the possessions hostage.
PROTECT YOURSELF FROM MOVING SCAMS:
Watch for warning signs. When reviewing a company’s website, if there is no address or information about a mover’s registration or insurance, it is a red flag.
Be wary of unusual requests. If a mover asks for a large down payment or full payment in advance, that may be an indication of a fraudulent business.
Get everything in writing. An identification number, issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), is required of all interstate moving companies. This number can be verified at www.fmcsa.dot.gov/protect-your-move. Make sure to carefully read the terms and conditions of the contract, as well as the limits of liability and any disclaimers. The pickup and expected delivery date should be easily identified.
Keep an inventory of your belongings. Having an inventory sheet is one of the best ways to keep track of your possessions. Taking photos of the contents prior to packing is a great way to prove if damages were incurred during the moving process.
FOR MORE INFORMATION – Read the full BBB alert for more moving tips at bit.ly/Movingscams. To access BBB’s 2020 report of moving scams, visit BBB.org/MoverScams. If you’ve spotted a scam (whether or not you’ve lost money), report it to BBB.org/ScamTracker. Your report can help others avoid falling victim to scams. Find more information about scams and how to avoid them at BBB.org/AvoidScams.
FOR BBB INFORMATION – Visit bbb.org/canton or call 330-454-9401 to look up a business, file a complaint, write a customer review, read tips, find our events, follow us on social media, and more!