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It’s National Moving Month!  Hire a trusted mover to avoid being scammed

by: Better Business Bureau

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For countless Americans, the month of May signifies a major transition in their lives. Whether it’s graduating from high school or college, starting a new job, or receiving that long-awaited letter of acceptance, May marks the start of the country’s busiest time to move. So much so that the month was designated National Moving Month in 1997.

In 2021, 42% of all business inquiries on BBB.org for moving companies occurred from May to August, and nearly 1,100 complaints were filed with BBB against moving companies throughout the year. year. Additionally, consumers reported over $730,000 lost to moving scams to BBB Scam Tracker, a 216% increase in monetary losses from 2020. Of the 27 million people who moved from 2020 to 2021, almost 30% were between 20 and 20 years old. 29.

With the amount of moving activity during the summer, the potential of falling victim to a moving scam also increases. There are several versions of moving scams reported to the BBB each year, including:

  • Consumers receive a quote and pay a deposit, but the movers never show up.
  • The moving company provides an estimate based on the expected weight and, after loading the truck, informs the consumer that the load exceeds the expected weight and that a surcharge will have to be paid. Most of the time, the additional charges are significantly higher per book, sometimes up to double the original estimate.
  • The most disruptive and difficult moving scam to anticipate is when everything seems to be going well. Movers provide an estimate, arrive on time, and load your belongings onto a truck. However, this is where the interaction becomes disastrous. When the truck doesn’t arrive at its destination, either your belongings are simply missing, or the company demands that the consumer pay extra to have them delivered, holding the goods hostage.

To avoid falling victim to a moving scam this National Moving Month and in the future, BBB recommends consumers follow these guidelines:

  • Pay attention to the warning signs. When reviewing a company’s website, if there is no address or information about a mover’s registration or insurance, it’s a sign that they don’t. may not have appropriate policies to protect a consumer’s property. Also, if the mover uses a rental truck or offers an estimate over the phone before performing an on-site inspection, they may not be a legitimate company.
  • Beware of unusual requests. If a mover asks for a large deposit or full payment up front, it may be a sign of a fraudulent company. If an individual’s assets are being held hostage for additional payment that was not agreed upon when the contract was signed, contact BBB or local law enforcement for assistance.
  • Get everything in writing. When moving between states, check licenses with the US Department of Transportation. A Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued identification number is required for all interstate moving companies, which can be verified at ProtectYourMove.org. Be sure to carefully read the terms and conditions of the contract, as well as the limitations of liability and any disclaimers. The pickup date and expected delivery date should be easily identifiable.
  • Keep an inventory of your belongings. Having an inventory sheet is one of the best ways to keep track of your belongings. BBB recommends that consumers who move label the boxes in which their belongings are packed and what is in each box. In general, movers are not responsible for lost or damaged contents in boxes packed by the customer, except in cases of proven negligence on the part of the mover. Taking photos of the contents before packing is a great way to prove if any damage was incurred during the moving process.
  • To 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, look for another company. Trust is important when hiring a moving company.

For more moving tips, check out BBB.org/moving. For a list of accredited moving companies near you, visit BBB.org.


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