Avoid Moving Scams

Some Common Moving Scams To Look Out For

False Statements Regarding Accreditation & Licensing

Rogue traders and unlicensed companies who perpetrate moving scams will often make false claims of their membership to recognized industry bodies or their licensed status. Always check with the industry body (most have online directories and helplines) rather than accepting their use of the logo which is easily copied and used in an unauthorized manner.

Moving Scams Common in Moves Charged Per Hour

  • Beware of “cheap and cheerful” unlicensed companies, they are likely to be uninsured and this means you have no way of claiming compensation for lost and damaged goods
  • Additionally unlicensed firms may impose additional hefty charges before, during or after your move, usually as soon as they have your goods loaded and in their possession. Beware of hidden fees imposed for packing, crating, stair carry and other so-called “specialty fees”
  • Since many of the “occasional movers” work by the hour, the job is often extended with slow service during disassembly and assembly of furniture

Moving Scams Common in Moves Charged On Volume

  • A company representative may actively lie to the customer that the space between each groove on the floor of the truck represents at least twice the number of cubic feet the space actually holds
  • The truck may be packed as inefficiently as possible
  • Some unscrupulous movers will close empty wardrobes and boxes then stack them to use maximum space on the truck
  • In some cases, movers will leave empty space at the back of the truck and pack boxes or furniture in front of them to hide the unused space
  • Boxes are packed as inefficiently as possible to maximise space used on the truck and packing charges.
  • This is perhaps the most costly moving scam!

Moving Scams Common in Moves Charged On Weight

Did you know, when charging by weight, movers are obligated to weigh the truck before it’s loaded and reweigh when the truck is fully packed in order to deduce the weight of the client’s goods? Many people unknowingly waive their lawful right to be present when the truck is initially weighed and weighed after loading, when they sign their moving contract. Make Sure You Don’t!

  • Movers often weigh the preloaded truck with minimal fuel and after removing all of the necessary moving materials to lower the initial weight. Once the truck is loaded with the cargo, the truck is refuelled and bulked up with moving equipment. Be particularly mindful of moving ramps, hand trucks etc. that can be easily removed before the initial weigh-in, making the truck at least a few hundred pounds lighter.
  • Movers may weigh one truck at the initial weigh-in and a heavier truck for the actual move to achieve a greater difference in weight.
  • In some cases, movers load the truck with addition materials after loading the consumer’s goods. A heavy safe is often used in these cases, increasing the weight by more than 1,000 lbs.

Paperwork Moving Scams

  • Every moving company is required by law to have customers fill out a Bill of Lading, which states method and rate of payment for the move, as well as any additional charges. Make sure you have seen a copy!
  • The mover will take an inventory which records who packed the boxes. Companies are not legally liable for damage caused in moving items you packed yourself, so make sure you see your inventory, and that the moving service provider is noted as having done the packing.
  • If the inventory states” PBO” (packed by owner) for an item, you won’t be entitled to compensation for breakage or damage.

Ways to Avoid Moving Scams

  • Every legitimate moving company is licensed but not every licensed company is equal. Checking review sites and the company’s rating with AMACP and other moving directories will help you identify the good ones.
  • Be wary of a moving company that asks you for an initial security deposit – a legitimate company will never ask for money upfront.
  • Always insist on receiving all your agreements in writing. It doesn’t matter how nice the moving company salesperson appears to be, verbal guarantees are useless and will not stand up in court.
  • If a moving company tells you they charge by the cubic foot – be deeply suspicious and ideally move on as they are often the rogue companies.
  • Another indicator of a potential moving scams is if a moving company tells you that they don’t need to visit your home to assess the move but can still give you an accurate estimate.
  • Don’t trust a moving company that doesn’t have an office. Visit the offices and take a look at their trucks. Do the trucks look well maintained and clean? If they don’t, it could be an indication of how your property will be handled during the move. Many illegally operating movers buy run down moving trucks from other moving companies and effectively steal that company’s identity.
  • Never use a company that only accepts cash, postal/money orders or certified bank checks. Many rogue movers will take an initial deposit using a credit card to secure your business, but once they have your belongings will only take payments in cash or postal/money orders.
Print page
Email page