CROMWELL, Conn. — May marks the beginning of the busiest time in the nation for moving. So much so, that the month was designated National Moving Month in 1997.
In 2020, 38% of all business profile views on BBB.org
for moving companies occurred from May-August and was the third most-viewed industry in the nation for that year. Additionally, more than $230,000 were lost to fraudulent moving companies throughout the year, emphasizing the caution consumers should exercise when hiring a moving company. Of the 29.8 million people
who moved last year, more than a quarter were between the ages of 20-29.
With the amount of moving activity during summer, the potential of being a victim of a moving scam
also increases. There are several versions of moving scams reported to BBB every year, including:
- Consumers receive a quote and pay a deposit, but the “movers” never show up.
- The moving company provides a quote based on expected weight and, after loading the truck, they inform the consumer that the load is over the expected weight and an additional fee will have to be paid. Most of the time, the additional fee is significantly more expensive per pound, sometimes as much as double the original estimate.
- The movers provide an estimate, arrive on time, and load your belongings on a truck. However, when the truck fails to arrive at its destination, either your belongings are simply gone or the company requires the consumer to pay an additional fee to have them delivered, holding the possessions hostage.
To avoid becoming a victim of a moving scam BBB recommends consumers follow these guidelines:
- Watch out for warning signs. Review a company's website to verify the business address and other contact information in case you have an issue. Additionally, if the mover uses a rented truck or offers an estimate over the phone prior to conducting an on-site inspection, it may not be a legitimate business.
- Be wary of unusual requests. If a mover asks for a large down payment or full payment in advance, that may be an indication of a fraudulent business. If an individual’s possessions are being held hostage for additional payment that was not agreed upon when the contract was signed, contact BBB or local law enforcement for help.
- Get everything in writing. Make sure to carefully read the terms and conditions of the contract, as well as the limits of liability and any disclaimers. The pickup and expected delivery date should be easily identified.
- Keep an inventory of your belongings. Having an inventory sheet is one of the best ways to keep track of your possessions. In general, movers are not liable for lost or damaged contents in customer-packed boxes unless there is provable negligence on the part of the mover. Taking photos of the contents prior to packing is a great way to prove if damages were incurred during the moving process.
- Ask questions. Do not be afraid to ask questions about anything you don’t understand. If the moving company either can’t or won’t answer your questions, look for another company. Trust matters when hiring a moving company.
With the precautions introduced by the coronavirus pandemic, it is important to follow the guidelines
put forth by the CDC when moving into a new residence, either as a family or individual.