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How to Spot a Moving Scam

A moving scam doesn't require a lot of planning, but it can net a criminal company a lot of returns. If you're looking for a mover, being aware of the potential scams out there can give you an edge in avoiding the shady movers. As a consumer, it's in your best interests to learn about these moving scams. The more you know, the better armed you are to deal with them. It can be challenging to spot a moving scam from the initial contact, but a few points stand out that should put you on your guard. Here, we'll cover some of the more common "tells" that might alert you to a potential moving scam.

Moving Scam

1. Not Enough Attention Paid to Your Items

Usually, a moving company will send over an estimator to check the items you have to move so they can give you an estimate. With a reputable company, this estimator will take the time to open your cupboards and check to see what your items are and how many of them are there so they can better offer a price. They'll also ask you many questions, such as your intentions with moving food or heavy items. These questions give them a better feel for what you should be paying and how much of a team they should send out to help you. Moving scam estimators don't do this in-depth examination of your stuff. Some of them might even quote you a ballpark figure without even examining a single cabinet. The sad reality is that the initial quote is so low that clients jump on it, only to have their items held hostage for months while they pay through the nose for their own stuff. Texas Moving USA offers a decent estimate, done by our in-house professionals.

2. Dodging Reviews by Name Changes

Some disreputable companies get by pretty quickly by changing their names. The name change game is a classic tactic that allows a company to keep doing shoddy business while still getting clients. Online reviews have made it easier to spot shady business practices, but it might be challenging to track them across each switch if a company keeps changing its name. Savvy clients will ask for three references. All three of those references should be people that moved within the last three months. When you get those clients, you should call them to verify the details about the moving company's credentials. Another thing you can ask for is the company's state and federal license numbers and the company's "doing business as" names. These will significantly reduce the chance of a company fooling you with a simple name change. If a business refuses to give you these details, chances are it's a scam waiting to happen, and you'd be better off staying away.

Moving Reviews

3. Protection of Items and Insurance

When an apartment moving company offers to move your items, they accept liability for any items damaged while in their care. However, there are two levels of liability that may apply. The first level is full (replacement) value protection. Unless you sign another document reducing the liability of the company, this is the default liability level. If you lose an item or it's damaged or destroyed during the move, the company will either pay for its repair or replacement. An additional charge usually applies to this level of liability. The lesser liability level refers to the released value of 60c per pound per article. In this case, TV valued at 1,000 weighing 10 pounds would only be covered for $6.00 ($0.60 x 10). This no-cost option doesn't provide much in terms of protection. These liability agreements aren't insurance arrangements. Companies may offer to sell you added insurance that will handle extra damages that might occur. If you decide to pay for move insurance coverage, be sure to get a copy of the insurance policy on payment.

4. Avoid Blank Contracts

This tip shouldn't have to be said, but blank contracts are nasty business. Individuals who trust certain moving companies (either because of their reputation or anything else) may sign off on a blank contract. That's like giving the moving company a blank check. The intelligent client will get everything in writing so that if anything goes wrong, they have a fallback position. Go through the contract you collect from the movers in detail. Go over the inventory list to ensure all your items are listed. If something doesn't appear on the inventory list, you can't claim for it if it's lost in transit.

Moving Contract

5. Extra Fee Charges

Sometimes, you get a quote from a local mover that has extra fees tacked on. You might start to wonder how the price of the estimate went up by so much. Things like long approaches to the apartment, difficulty in moving boxes down or up flights of stairs, and even the danger in the moving situation may cause extra fees to be added on. Mentioning these details to the moving estimator will help you get a better feel for your moving costs early on. Companies like Texas Moving USA are dedicated to being transparent, letting you know your extra charges before the move even happens.

6. Quotes and Reliability

Movers' quotes can be difficult to sort out. Federal law offers two kinds of moving contracts. The non-binding contract is an estimate that allows the movers to charge as much as ten percent more on the estimated price, due within thirty (30) days of the move. Binding contracts are more concrete, giving a solid price estimate and costs for other moving services. In both cases, additional services can be added on with their own fee schedules. But is the contract you getting a top limit on the cost? Reading the fine print of the contract will inform you whether the contract you're signing on with is the final price, or if it is subject to change on the movers' discretion. Knowing what type of contract you have can keep you from being surprised at additional costs at the end of your move.

7. Requesting a Huge Deposit

No reputable mover will ask you for a massive deposit before moving your stuff. Usually, the industry accepts payment on delivery of items and not a moment before. If a company's trying to strongarm you into paying before they load your goods onto a truck, chances are they're trying to scam you out of your money. If you decide to pay them before they deliver your goods, there's no guarantee that you'll ever get your goods delivered. If you are paying upfront, choose a credit card. The credit card gives you a way to reverse charges in the event of fraud. Credit card companies take these complaints extremely seriously.

Moving Deposit

Stay Alert to Avoid Falling Victim to Scams

Most of us think that we won't ever fall prey to a scam. At least, that's the general feeling until it happens to us. Scams can take advantage of intelligent people while they're distracted. What's more distracting than having to move your apartment somewhere else? These signs can help you spot fraudsters before they get near to your stuff. In 2021 so far, over nine hundred fake movers have taken advantage of clients in the US. Don't be another victim. Use your knowledge to avoid ending up just another statistic. Call Texas Moving USA today to hire reputable long-distance movers for your move.

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