How to avoid moving scams

Moving can be one of the most stressful times in your life. There are usually a great deal of memories and a considerable amount of money at stake, so the last thing you want to deal with is getting scammed. Here are some tips to follow so you can avoid getting ripped off when you move from one home to the next.

Check references
If you heard of a moving company from your real estate agent, chances are his or her other clients have used the same service and have been pleased. You may also want to ask for references directly from the company so you can see how satisfied other customers have been with the movers. If you are unsure about a certain moving company, it may be a good idea to check into your local chamber of commerce, as well as a community organization that specializes in relocation to see if there have been any complaints or reports of moving company scams. Another good resource is your local police department. An officer should be able tell you about any recent scams or what to look out for when contracting a mover to transport your belongings.

Be cautious
If you have found a moving company that you are interested in contracting for your move, here are a few things to consider: Do they give a local address? Did they give you an estimate for moving over the phone? Does the company require a large deposit? Are there company vehicles or generic rented trucks? All of these things can be red flags! Reputable moving companies should be able to give a local address and phone number, and your estimate should be given once a representative of the company has seen the size and the amount of furniture you have. You should also try to avoid paying movers until the move has been completed and the company should have their own vehicles with company logos, rather than trucks rented from another company. Another good idea is to look into licensure and insurance information, as well as consumer advocacy groups before you contract a company for your move.

Know your rights
If you feel you have been scammed, ripped off or treated unfairly by a moving company it is your right to react appropriately. A good place to start is with your local police department and chamber of commerce. It is also a good idea to report any scams or unsatisfactory activity to the Department of Transportation by calling 1-888-DOT-SAFT. Doing so can help recover your money or your belongings, as well as help protect other consumers from moving scams.

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