So, you have finally decided to move. Now you have to go through all the steps from planning, organizing, packing, and unpacking. A lot of preparation goes into getting to your new dream home, and one of the most important steps is finding professional movers Chicago. But even more important than that is knowing that your chosen mover is honest and reputable. The chaos of a move can easily make us lower our guard and fall victim to rogue movers. With enough research and attention, you can avoid moving scams and secure yourself a dream move.
The most common ways movers will set you up for a scam
Scammers will usually try to catch you off guard and lure you with high claims of professionalism and oddly low prices. This often happens since all the moving preparations like planning and packing require your full attention. They will often rush the conversation and skip all the important details such as prices and terms. Once all of your items are packed, the prices will dramatically change all of a sudden. If you did not carefully read the contract, or even signed one, to begin with, you will have a hard time getting your thing back without paying a hefty price.
Some movers will demand a high deposit, or even the full cost upfront, before even loading the truck. Others will not even mention any fees until your items arrive at the destination, and only then ask for money. No matter what the tactic is, you can be sure of one thing. Without a good contract offered by reliable long-distance movers Chicago, the price will change, and you will pay even more to get your items back. This is why it is very important that you avoid moving scams. You can only do this by being thorough in your research, and aware of red flags which hint a scam.
Red flags which can help you avoid moving scams
Legitimate and licensed movers are required by law to follow certain regulations and standards. Sticking to these rules makes them more reliable and helps them function better. Unfortunately, some movers choose to ignore these rules. Keep your eyes peeled and avoid moving scams early.
- Upfront deposits – No reliable and self-respecting mover will ask for these. Asking for a cash or credit deposit upfront is a warning sign and should be approached with caution. In case you come across such a demand, chances are, you are dealing with a rogue mover. Your chosen company should be transparent when it comes to payments before signing any contracts.
- Customer rights and responsibilities – This is a no brainer, as you should always know what you are entitled to. It is the duty of every mover to provide their customer with a booklet called “Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move”. This brochure contains information on consumer rights, safety regulations, and legal practice.
- Suspicious terms of service – Some rogues try to bend the rules in their favor with these methods. If you receive a list of vague agreements that don’t fully protect your payments and property, it is probably best you walk away from that deal. Some may attempt to mislead you by using complicated legal terms. If you have any doubts, it is always best to have an attorney read through all of the documents before signing anything.
- No offered protection – Companies need to offer their customers moving protection, regardless of the distance covered. This exists to protect you, and your items, in case of damage or loss. If the mover does not offer this or tries to convince you not to choose this option, feel free to consider this a red flag.
Suspicious bids are another way of trapping unsuspecting clients
Moving estimates make all the difference between legitimate movers and tricksters. An honest company usually takes interest in your move with questions, and a visual survey of the home. Pay attention to details, and do your research, and you should be just fine.
- Low ball bid – If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If you are about to sign an oddly cheap contract, insist on an explanation of the full cost before proceeding.
- Phone-based bid – These types of estimates are simply impossible to do. Giving an accurate quote or getting vital information without actually seeing the goods cannot be done. Always ask for an in house estimate as they are the most reliable.
- Volume-based bid – Movers who charge by the cubic meter of truck space should be avoided. Although this method is fine for shorter distances, interstate movers who charge based on volume are deemed illegal. These types of movers should be reported to FMSCA as soon as possible.
- In and out bid – Just like the phone bid, this is not acceptable. If a mover just takes a glance at your home and gives you a price estimate, something is not right. An estimator should take the time to carefully inspect your home and show interest in your moving plan.
More ways to avoid moving scams and protect yourself
It only takes a bit of due diligence and research to avoid moving scams and prevent your move from turning to a nightmare.
- Get references – When contacting a mover, ask for at least three references they can provide. Alternatively, check online reviews on sites such as BBB. Another great source of information is friends and relatives that moved recently. Not all the references you find will be positive, but it will help you get a clear picture of what you are working with.
- Check everything with city and state regulators – This is great to make sure a business is legitimate. Local officials can confirm a reliable moving company by checking their address info and licenses. Additionally, they can check registration details and any business aliases a mover might use.
- Keep everything documented – After you move, note down any problems on the inventory copy before signing it off. This is a good way to avoid moving scams as you can file a claim in case there is any damage or loss. Your mover can, of course, deny the claim, but it is much harder to do when you have a solid proof.