Avoid Moving Scams

A few years ago in a radio segment, I spoke about scams of moving companies, and I’d like to address that again today. Former residents of a small town where I once lived, moved out of state a while back and made me more aware of problems within the moving industry. Their experience was quite aggravating and stressful to say the least.

According to Forbes.com, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) has over 1,300 moving companies with an “F” rating due to unresolved complaints. On average, the BBB receives around 13,000 complaints per year! A couple of red flags according to both Forbes and the BBB, include not accepting credit cards, and providing unusually low estimates. There’s also the possibility of holding household goods hostage, after increasing the amount due, following a low estimate.

So, when this couple ran into trouble, one issue which came to light was the difference between moving brokers and moving carriers. Moving carriers contract the transaction and work the deal from beginning to end. Moving brokers, as you can surmise, make the arrangements with a carrier by connecting them to the customers. When my friends made their move, they ended up losing their items for 5 ½ weeks! Imagine that…5 1/2 weeks without your household goods! They called and complained but couldn’t even determine the location of the truck for a while due to getting the runaround. They eventually learned they had been dealing with a moving broker, and that the broker was passing the buck to the carrier. Basically, they were trying to shun responsibility.

In addition, once this couple finally had their household goods delivered, they discovered thousands of dollars in damage to their items. Clothing, towels, and sheets even had mouse droppings and had been chewed. Of course, there’s always concern for damage to furniture, but do you realize a seller or tenant moving out of a home can create damage to drywall or floors which then can cause problems on a final walk through? If that final walk through is the morning of closing just after the move out, this can delay the closing. Most buyers aren’t going to accept a home with new damage, and it may take some time to arrange for repairs. This can then cause the buyers complications if they’re already moving out of their previous home.If you’re researching a company via online reviews, keep in mind that there can be positive reviews which are fake, but also some people will complain or defame without just cause. Some reviews are legit, and some are not. So, what should you do? Well, you can ask your REALTOR® for recommendations but you can also ask your friends, family or coworkers if there’s a company they’d suggest. My friends also suggest using a local company so that someone can physically visit your home in advance to look at what you have, as opposed to simply inputting the number of bedrooms or square footage into an online form.  A local company will also be easier to hold accountable.