If you’re getting ready to move to your new home, hiring a mover is on your to-do list. Beware of these common moving company scams.
If you’ve contacted a moving company and they are willing to give you an estimate without actually inspecting your home, be wary. Most people have more possessions than they realize, and moving companies generally factor in their weight and the amount of space they take up. You will not get an accurate cost estimate if the moving company does not inspect your belongings themselves.
Also be on the lookout for moving companies who only do a cursory glance at your belongings without asking specific questions about what you intend to take with you and what you’ll leave behind. You may likely get a low quote that doesn’t accurately reflect what you actually have. You may find yourself in a pickle on moving day when the cost rises dramatically. Or worse, the company could hold your belongings hostage until you pay the difference.
Asking for a large deposit
Good moving companies will not request a large deposit up front for their services. Most reputable companies expect payment upon delivery. Those that collect deposits are often the same ones who don’t show up on moving day, or who take much longer to deliver your items to their final destination.
If a company has received complaints to the Better Business Bureau, they will often get around them by changing their name. When researching movers, make sure they answer the phone with the full name of the company. Ask for local references and follow up with them. Get all the names the company does business as and find out their license numbers and if they are properly insured. Research the company online to see if there are any complaints or bad reviews posted.
Some moving companies inflate the final bill by tacking on hidden fees. Be sure to request an itemized bill and look for charges that weren’t discussed beforehand. You could be billed for living in a two-story house, living on a narrow street that won’t fit the truck, or having to park the truck more than a certain distance from the front door.
If a moving company asks you to sign a blank or partially completed contract that they’ll fill in later, decline and find another company. You want all the details spelled out from the beginning, including the delivery date, price and under what conditions additional fees may be incurred.
While it may seem a little daunting to research and hire a moving company, doing your due diligence will ensure that your move goes as smoothly and quickly as possible. The peace of mind you’ll gain is more than worth the extra time to find the best and most reputable company for your budget.
Susan Matthews is a Realtor serving the greater Charleston area with Coldwell Banker Carolinas. Contact her for more info on selling your home.