Posted on March 29, 2022
Choosing a moving company is a big decision that requires a lot more than just money. It takes a lot of faith in a firm to transport all of your belongings from here to there without damages and at the agreed-upon price. All too often, though, this does not occur. Moving company scams appear to be on the rise as long-distance and interstate relocation become more common.
Due to unresolved complaints, the Better Business Bureau has given over 1,300 moving businesses an “F” rating. Every year, the Better Business Bureau receives roughly 13,000 complaints regarding moving businesses.
Fraud warning signs and indicators
Sometimes moving firms may appear legitimate on the internet, but they are experienced con artists who fail to complete moves, steal belongings, and make you overpay for their services. The following are some of the most important fraud red flags and indicators to be aware of:
- Credit cards are not accepted, and payments must be made by direct deposit or cash.
- During off-season months, significant deposits are requested prior to the move.
- Not registered with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)
- Instead of agreeing to an onsite assessment to provide an accurate estimate, provides immediate quotes.
- Don’t give a copy of “Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move,” a document that movers must distribute under federal requirements.
- Having an excessive number of outstanding customer complaints or having no reviews at all
- Customers are required to sign blank contracts or documents prior to the move.
What qualifies as a scam?
It’s important to understand what to do if you’ve been scammed by a moving company and want to pursue legal action against them. The following are some of the most typical moving scams:
- Falsifying a bill of lading by altering, copying, publishing, or creating one. All commodities being shipped are listed by type, quantity, and destination on the bill of lading.
- Providing you with a suspiciously low estimate in order to entice you in, then withholding or threatening to withhold your household items unless you pay much more than the rate offered.
- Weight bumping is the practice of assigning a false weight or volume to your shipment.
- Obtaining funds under false pretenses such as inflating the number of packing materials and other moving items provided
What isn’t a scam?
Every move comes with little inconveniences that aren’t tied to any warranties or protection. In most circumstances, these inconveniences are insufficient to justify legal action or claims:
- In most moves, some damage to furniture, appliances, and other personal items is common.
- Minor mishaps and missing items during the relocation
- Delivery delays of a few days—you may be able to get reimbursement for a missed delivery date, but this isn’t always a scam.
- Some cost increases (less than 10%) may arise as a result of incorrect estimations and quotes.
However, in a few instances, making a complaint is necessary to defend your rights as a customer and to alert other customers. Be wary of seemingly legitimate scams that should be reported to the authorities.
Charges for interstate transfers are based on the weight of your belongings, the distance between the locations, and any additional services. Interstate move quotes are often binding, non-binding, or not-to-exceed. In general, the ultimate price increase should not exceed 10% of the quote’s estimated price.
Moving firms have been known to hold your belongings hostage unless you pay them a large sum of money. The 110 % Rule, established by the FMCSA, specifies that moving companies cannot seek payment of more than 110 % of the initial written estimate before delivering your belongings.
While submitting a complaint takes time, it is the only way to protect yourself and avoid being taken advantage of by your moving company.
Other situations, such as late deliveries, significantly damaged items, and delayed service, may not warrant legal action, but they can still be grounds for a complaint. Your issues should be justified and addressed by the team if you’re working with a trustworthy moving business.
How to report scams and frauds in the moving industry
If you think you’ve been scammed by a moving company, find out how to report it and pursue legal action to defend and protect your rights.
Make a formal complaint to the moving company
The first step is to file a complaint directly with the moving company. Reliable moving companies will discuss your concerns and reach an agreement with you. To try to remedy the situation, contact their local office as well as their corporate headquarters.
Notify the appropriate organization about the moving company
If you believe you are dealing with a fraudulent moving company, you can contact a number of government agencies to file a formal complaint.
Consider taking the company to court
After you’ve tried all other alternatives, you might consider taking the moving company to small claims court. To check if you have a valid case, contact a competent lawyer and explain the circumstances. Suing the company is frequently the last resort, especially because it entails added stress, legal bills, and a large amount of time and work.