Better Business Bureau serving Canton Region and Greater West Virginia offers tips and advice for consumers to avoid fraudulent practices.
Whether you're moving across the country, across the state, or even just across the city, the Better Business Bureau warns of potential scammers in the moving industry. Scammers can turn relocating into an expensive nightmare.
How the scam works
There are several versions of moving scams. The simplest is getting a quote and leaving a deposit, but the "movers" never show.
In another variation, the moving company quotes a price based on weight. After loading, they inform you that your belongings went over the weight estimate and the additional weight will be a lot more per pound (sometimes double).
With the most egregious scheme, everything seems to be fine. The movers quote a price, arrive on time, and load your belongings on a truck.
But when the truck doesn't show up at your new home, either your belongings are gone forever or they are being held "hostage" and you have to pay another fee before scammers will deliver them.
How to spot a moving scam
Watch for signs of a fly-by-night company. Look for company websites that have no address and no information about a mover's registration or insurance. Notice if telephone calls are answered with a generic "movers" rather than with a company name or the mover uses rented trucks. Another tip-off is when the moving company doesn't make an on-site inspection, but does estimates over the phone.
Be wary of unusual requests. If a mover asks for a large down payment or full payment in advance, that may be a warning sign. And if a company says it won't return your items to you without more money than you agreed to pay, contact BBB or local law enforcement for help.
Get everything in writing. Check licensing with the authorities, confirm insurance coverage, and get a written contract. Carefully read the terms and conditions of the contract, as well as the limits of liability and any disclaimers. Make sure pick-up and delivery dates are spelled out and understand how the rate is being calculated. Don't pay cash and don't prepay or make a large deposit. Understand the terms of the insurance coverage and consider purchasing full value protection.
Keep an inventory of your belongings. Make a detailed inventory of your property and number the boxes they are packed in for tracking. Know that a mover is not liable for loss or damage of contents in customer-packed boxes, unless there is provable negligence on the part of the mover.
Ask questions. Don't be afraid to ask questions about anything you don't understand. If the moving company can't or won't answer your questions, you might want to look for another mover.
For more information: Read about Hiring a Mover at www.bbb.org/article/tips/13306-bbb-tip-hiring-a-mover.
Visit bbb.org/canton or call 330-454-9401 to look up a business, file a complaint, write a customer review, read tips, follow us on social media, and more!