Types of Moving Scams to Watch Out For
As I mentioned in my first post about moving scams, the internet provides a perfect avenue for moving scammers to operate. Just about anyone can create a website that “looks” legit. While not a single person goes into the process thinking that they’ll get scammed, it still happens. And normally when it does happen it’s because the price sounds too good to pass up. And who can blame you. Oftentimes the price tag that comes with full-service moving is difficult to fit into a tight moving budget. That’s one reason so many people end up going the Box Ox Moving route.
Before you choose a mover, make sure you know how to recognize the red flags that may indicate a possible moving scam. If you encounter a moving scam, contact the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
Red Flag #1. Not providing a written quote or estimate.
A legitimate company will ALWAYS offer a quote in writing—whether a printable online quote, email, U.S. mail, fax, or personal delivery. Scammers give quotes by phone but avoid putting it in writing. And more often than not, the quote they give you by phone is significantly lower than comparable services. If the moving service doesn’t offer a written estimate, ask for one. If they can’t (or won’t), look elsewhere.
Red Flag #2. Requiring a large cash down-payment or up-front payment in full.
While Box Ox moving doesn’t require a down-payment or deposit, many legitimate movers do. Just requiring it isn’t unusual. What should be considered a red flag is paying a large amount in cash and NOT getting a detailed receipt in writing. Any down-payment you pay should be applied to the cost of your move. Keep in mind that if you pay in cash with no detailed receipt, there’s no paper trail—so it’s your word against theirs. Making your payment by credit card is much safer than paying with cash.
This is a scam you’ll often see with companies that say they’re a moving brokerage service. Rather than matching shipments with carriers that truly offer a service and price that matches your needs, the broker makes up a low price that undercuts competitors and entices you to choose them. Then, unbeknownst to the actual shipper (because the broker reserves the move acting as you), the scammer collects payment from you, then bails—never paying the actual shipper. At that point, the shipper tries to collect from you, but you’ve already paid some or all of your payment to the broker. Now there’s a problem.
Red Flag #3. Quoting a price that is significantly lower than comparable competition.
Some companies have higher costs than others, so you’ll definitely see differences in price. Where you should be concerned is when it’s a significant difference for a comparable service. If you’re getting estimates from a full-service mover, they’ll do an in-home estimate and quote based on the weight of your shipment. Ask (and get in writing) how much weight they’re estimating. Then make sure it’s consistent with what other movers are quoting. You don’t want to be in a position where the mover has control of your goods and tells you that your price is much higher than originally estimated—this is where the “holding goods hostage” that you hear of comes in. Make sure to ask how the price will be calculated if your shipment is larger than quoted—or, if it’s smaller than quoted. What’s the maximum and minimum you will pay? And ask if there are any additional fees that are not quoted. Again, get everything in writing.
Red Flag #4. You can’t find any good information about them, other than on their website.
This scam involves so-called moving companies that are operating illegally. Their website shows a picture of their trucks, and it looks legit, but they aren’t. They show up at your house, sometimes in company work shirts that look legit, load your belongings and you never hear from them again. Do your research ahead of time. Check sites like the Better Business Bureau before you pay a dime. It’s also a good idea to look at consumer review sites like google, yelp, etc. Then lastly, use social media to ask your family and friends.
If you are moving long distance, Box Ox Moving would love to help. We provide an easy way to calculate your cost, and you can feel confident that your goods are moving with a reputable, reliable service (check us out on Twitter, Facebook, yelp, etc. If you need help loading and unloading, Box Ox Moving can send you experienced moving labor to help pack, load and unload your belongings. If you have more questions about how to avoid a moving scam, how Box Ox Moving can help with your move, or you would like to see how much moving costs with Box Ox Moving, call us at 512-861-8707 or get a moving quote online 24/7.