Preventing Fraud from Discount Moving Companies

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Preventing Fraud from Discount Moving Companies

Staff Writer · Dec 15, 2009

There are all kinds of ways for “discount moving companies“, either local or long distance, to take advantage of the people who rely on them for a relocation. When a family or household is looking for the cheapest and best moving companies, it can be hard to separate the great, affordable professionals from the dregs. Dishonest movers prey on those with little knowledge of how a moving contract works. However, some general guidelines will help customers prevent a wide range of expensive and otherwise challenging situations on moving day.

Know Who You’re Talking To

Some customers make a quick phone call to a faceless office and think they are done with the whole issue until moving day. However, that can be a big mistake. If the moving crew shows up, demands a much different rate, or hands you any number of other surprises, it’s often too late to iron out the kinds of misunderstandings that make your moving bill go through the roof.

On the other hand, a good pre-interview with someone knowledgeable can help you line up a quality move for a price you can rely on. In larger companies, this is often a customer service rep who is authorized to make a deal on a moving price. In a smaller company, you may be talking to a crew boss or even the owner of the business. Either way, keeping track of what you have discussed keeps you connected to the company at the right levels.

Use Binding Moving Estimates

Federal law requires moving companies providing estimates to honor them. Specifically, ask your moving company for a binding estimate. With a binding estimate, the company is limited to charging you what they quoted (or less) for a job. The binding estimate amount is the maximum possible charge. There are also non-binding agreements where a moving company can only add so much to a final charge. Knowing about these will help you in negotiating a move.

Watch Out for Special Services Loopholes

Although there are rules for binding moving estimates, using additional services often makes them null and void. A binding agreement is according to a specific set of moving services. If you agree to more on moving day, you may find that the company has legitimately upped the final costs significantly.

Ask About Handling Policies and Insurance

For many customers, the way that movers handle your possessions is almost as important as the price. Companies that offer a ‘discount’ on moves sometimes provide that lower cost by operating at a minimal level of quality, throwing items onto a truck without proper securing methods, or otherwise leaving goods vulnerable to damage. Talking about these things up front will help ensure that you get your dollar’s worth on a move. Companies also routinely offer moving insurance in case anything does get broken. Again, hashing this out before moving day is critical.

All of the above will help customers make the right choices to avoid fraudulent bait and switch or other tactics by a money-hungry mover.

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