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On the Move? Moving Company Scams - By Kyla Hunt

Moving soon? Want to ensure that your belongings make the trip from your old digs to your new abode? If you are hiring movers to help you in your transition, make sure to do
your research before handing over your prized possessions.


First of all, the very fact that there is an entire website devoted to moving company scams (http://www.movingscam.com/)
should point to how prevalent these frauds in fact are. According to
an article published by the Better Business Bureau in May 2010, the
“BBB received more than 8,400 complaints against movers in 2009”
(http://www.bbb.org/us/article/avoid-moving-scams-this-summer-19258).
Since “More than 37 million Americans -- or about 13 percent --
move to a different home every year,” an enormous proportion of
Americans are at risk for being victims of a moving company scam
(http://www.bbb.org/us/article/avoid-moving-scams-this-summer-19258).


Usually, a moving scam unfolds in the following steps:

  1. You, the consumer, requests information for how much a move would cost, usually online.

  2. The moving company offers a quote, usually quite low.

  3. The movers show up the day of the move, put your stuff in their van, and…

  4. Raise the real price of the move, usually to much more than that originally quoted. You can either pay up, or risk losing your belongings.


The Better Business Bureau confirms this idea of the standard scenario by stating that “In a common worst-case scenario, the moving company will essentially hold the
customer’s belongings hostage and require potentially thousands of
dollars to unload the truck”
(http://www.bbb.org/us/article/avoid-moving-scams-this-summer-19258).
You can also find more details on the usual set-up of these scams at
http://www.movingscam.com/theScam.shtml.


A common instance of a moving company scam was recently reported in Houston, Texas. According to the story as reported by KIAH-TV Houston, “A company called Miracle Movers
had an ad offering the services of two men and a truck for $34.95 per
hour with no hidden costs;” unfortunately, on the day of the move,
the person who hired the movers “found herself stuck with a
decision between paying exorbitant extra fees or risk the company
confiscating her parent's belongings and selling them”
(http://www.39online.com/news/local/story-mover-scam-story,0,729170....).
In this case, the victim of the scam lost $1,000, a washer/dryer
combination, a laptop, and endured various other property damages.
Police purportedly said that they could do nothing to help as the
victim had signed a contract with the moving company.


So how can you avoid moving scams and ensure the safety of your possessions (without paying steep fees)? Here are a few tips:


  • Check the moving company’s credentials. Verify that the moving company is licensed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration at
    http://www.protectyourmove.gov;
    or look up companies and their ratings at the Better Business
    Bureau (http://www.bbb.org).

  • If a moving company offers to give a quote over the phone or online, beware. Most moving companies will need to see you (and usually your possessions) in person before
    offering a quote.

  • A reputable moving company should usually provide you a quote per pounds, not per cubic feet. (http://www.movingscam.com/findmover.shtml)

  • Always read and fully understand a contract that you sign. Never sign a contract if you are even slightly uncomfortable in doing so.


For a brief rundown of the history of moving company scams, visit the main page of MovingScam.com (http://www.movingscam.com/).


For more information on avoiding moving scams, visit the following sites:





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