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How to Avoid Moving Scams

How do you pick the right mover, especially when the industry is known for discreditable companies looking to scam their next customer? Avoid being the next victim of a disreputable mover by learning the tricks of these fraudulent companies and educating yourself on the smart way to choose a reputable mover in your area.

The Today Show recently featured a segment on "How to Avoid Being Scammed by movers." In order to avoid these scams, it's critical that you know how to spot them. Get to know the top scams that can be attempted by a mover as identified by The Today Show:

  • The Hostage
  • Bait and Switch
  • Trumped Up Delivery Charges
  • Late (or Never) Delivery
  • Reckless Abandonment


Now that you are familiar with the nicknames of common moving scams, let's go into detail about what each of these terms mean. The Today Show segment explained the way a disreputable mover gets away with these popular scams as follows:

The HostageThe Hostage:

A mover provides you with an estimate, only to add extras on once they have your belongings in their possession. Basically, their estimate is not valid, and they can tack on as many additional costs as they'd like - doubling or tripling the cost of your move. If you want your furniture back, you have to conceded and pay the additional cost.

Bait and SwitchBait and Switch:

A mover will provide you with an estimate for the cost of your move, and then switch this arranged deal at the last minute. They sell you on a low price, but in the end, the cost of your move ends up being nothing close to what you agreed to.

Trumped Up Delivery ChargesTrumped Up Delivery Charges:

A mover will tack on additional charges based on unfounded reasons. Say the mover gave you an estimate based on weight. After your valuables are on their truck, they then charge you extra claiming the cubic feet have exceeded the weight estimate of your goods. Since this is impossible to calculate, you're stuck paying the fees or forsaking your goods.

Other common trumped up charges include saying packing was not included in your estimate, charging more because your goods weren't totally packed and ready for the move and so on.

Late (or Never) DeliveryLate (or Never) Delivery:

This scam may be the worst of the bunch. A mover will come and pack, load and promise to deliver your belongings "on-time." Then, they call saying your goods are in the back of a truck behind two other peoples' belongings, so you can't receive your furniture until theirs is delivered first.

Or, if the mover has a licensing violation and their truck is impounded in transit by the Department of Transportation, all your valuables are stuck on board until the truck is released. Either of these situations result in your goods being delivered weeks late...or not at all.

Reckless AbandonmentReckless Abandonment:

This happens often with a rogue mover. A fly by the night mover will take your money, load your belongings, then close up shop and flee, abandoning your shipment either on the truck or in a private storage facility. This scam allows the mover to take off with your money and your belongings. If you are lucky enough to find where your belongings ended up, expect to pay exorbitant amounts of money to retrieve them from the storage locale.

Don't Fall Into the Traps Set by a Disreputable Mover!

So, now that you know the common rip-offs and scams executed by a shady mover, how can you avoid these common pitfalls many individuals and families fall into when moving? Do not despair; not all movers are despicable. Having a successful, affordable relocation performed by a professional mover does not have to be a pipe dream. Below are some tips for choosing a mover for a happy, successful relocation:

  1. Demand an On-Site Estimate: Allied Van Lines provides FREE on-site moving estimates.

  2. Check the Company's Address: A REAL mover will have a REAL address. Once you get the address, make sure you Google it or drive to the location to verify its legitimacy.

  3. Ask for Recommendations from Friends, Family and Neighbors: One of the best ways to find a great mover? Word of mouth from people they have moved before.

  4. Ask your Real Estate Agent: Real estate agents help people move all the time. They are a great source for a reputable mover.

  5. Get Three Competitive In-Home Estimates: Get three estimates from three different moving companies. If there is a significant disparity, this will help you to easily identify a fraud.

  6. Choose a mover who Bases Price off Weight, Not Cubic Feet: This will help guarantee and lock in the estimate they provide you initially.

  7. Check the mover's Complaint History: If a mover has more than eight complaints on a given complaint website (Better Business Bureau, etc.), then you might want to rethink electing them as your mover.

How to Protect Yourself from a Mover's Scams

There are some simple steps you can take to prevent falling into scams with a mover, and certain things you should never do when moving. Heed this advice, and benefit from a happier (and cheaper) move:

  • Don't Fall for a Front Company: Double check that the mover has a real address, and is not just some rogue mover representing its website as an actual business.
  • Do Not Give a Large Deposit: A mover that demands a large deposit upfront likely has an agenda other than securely moving your belongings - like taking your money and running. If a mover demands a large deposit, move on to a different company.
  • Do NOT Pay Cash: Paying cash is asking for trouble. When you pay cash, there is no evidence of a transaction. Therefore, if your things aren't moved, or even worse, you don't get them back, you have no evidence of ever having paid for service.
  • Make Sure the Truck is Branded: Real moving companies have real moving trucks, complete with branding and logos. To make sure crooks do not drive off with your valuables, check the truck for a company logo.
  • Do Not Sign a Partial Contract: You would never sign a loan agreement, pre-nup or binding contract of other sorts with blanks; the same rule applies for moving contracts. Make sure the contract is complete and all filled in before signing anything.
  • Do Not Agree to a Skinny Contract: Make sure you sign a complete moving contract, or one that is more than two pages. All of your goods should be listed on the contract.
  • Buy Extra Insurance: A reputable mover will offer additional types of moving insurance to ensure you can have the highest protection should something happen to your valuables during the move. Allied Van Lines offers Full Valuation Coverage that totally protects your shipment should damage or loss occur.
  • Ask About the Mover's Claims Policy: Find out more about how the company processes claims in the event you should need to file one. Should you file a claim, you want to make sure it is handled quickly and properly.

You Deserve a Great Relocation Experience with a Professional Mover

Everyone should be entitled to a secure, sound relocation at a fair price. By knowing the common scams carried out by a mover, using the tips to selecting a reputable mover and avoiding the things NOT to do during your move, you too, can enjoy a hassle-free, economic move experience. Use these three checklists and the valuable information provided by contributors on The Today Show to avoid common moving scams, saving you money and headaches.

One of the first steps to a successful move is getting your ON-SITE ESTIMATE. Why not save money and get your FREE MOVING ESTIMATE from Allied Van Lines today! Contact Allied Van Lines today regarding your moving needs. Or, use our quote form to request your FREE IN-HOME ESTIMATE right now!

Allied Van Lines - Your Choice for a Reputable, Professional Mover

Allied wants you to know that moving does not have to be overwhelming. Now, more than ever, we believe people should be able to have a professional mover handle their relocation while still receiving a fair price. Begin by allowing yourself plenty of time to move, and Allied can help you get organized regarding the rest.

How to Choose a Reputable Mover

Today's economic climate is anything but certain. Foreclosures are upwards of 30%, and people are being smarter, and more conscious, about where their money is going. People who are not relishing in this economic downturn are the most likely to become victims of moving scams. They search for the mover with the best price, not knowing that these "too good to be true" movers often are.

With more than 85 years of experience in the moving business, Allied Van Lines knows the ins and outs of the industry. And, since we are a reputable moving company, we can tell you exactly how to choose a professional mover. We know you want a great move at a fair price. Here are some tips on how to choose a mover who can provide you with just that:

Begin the search for the perfect mover 8 weeks prior to your move. If you aren't lucky enough to have that much time, start as soon as possible.

Ask for references. Check with others around you who have recently moved for their recommendations on a great mover.

Make a list of the services you need. Be sure to consider everything, from temporary storage to shipping your car to ensure you get the most accurate price, and more importantly, choose a mover who can accommodate your needs.

Research companies thoroughly. Look for companies in your area that can provide the specific services you need. Eliminate those companies that do not meet your requirements.

Get multiple in-home estimates. Make sure the estimate is done at your home, and have multiple companies perform them to compare costs.

Use these helpful tips to help find the best mover. Just Remember: Cheapest is not always best. What may seem like a great deal upfront can actually end up costing you MUCH more in the end.

Now that you know how to start the search for a superior mover, here are some tips on what to look for in a reputable mover:

  1. The mover's credentials: Make sure the mover is licensed, insured and bonded; registered with the Department of Transportation; check its standing with the Better Business Bureau; check to make sure its address is legitimate.

  2. A physical address: Visit the company's location or double-check that their address is valid on the internet.

  3. Branded trucks and uniformed men: If a plain, rental looking truck shows up at your door, be wary.

  4. Clean complaint history: Asking for a spotless complaint history may be excessive, but make sure there is not too much negative press about the company.

  5. Bill of Lading and Rights and Responsibilities: A reputable mover will give you a Bill of Lading and your Rights and Responsibilities. You are entitled to these documents and a copy of your contract during your move. If your mover is professional, you will receive copies of these documents.

Finding a Mover is Easy When You Know What to Look For... and What to Avoid

Now, you're educated about moving scams thanks to The Today Show's segment "How to Avoid Being Scammed by movers," and you have nearly fail-proof tips to choosing the right mover and being protected during the move.

Arm yourself with these tips to avoid being scammed by a mover! Don't make a relocation nightmare become your reality by unknowingly choosing a rogue or disreputable mover. Now, more than ever, watching where every penny goes is of the utmost importance. Help protect your bank account - and your personal belongings - by working with a professional mover whose first priority is your successful relocation.

Allied Van Lines - Your Mover of Choice

At Allied Van Lines, we are committed to providing stress-free local and long distance moving at fair prices. We realize how you need a secure move, but you also need an affordable price. Contact us today to arrange your FREE IN-HOME MOVING ESTIMATE, and get your move started off on the right foot. We look forward to handling all your moving needs as your mover of choice.