Straight Talk: ‘Movers’ scam money, belongings from victims – Entertainment & Life – The Repository
The Better Business Bureau for the Canton and Greater West Virginia area provides tips and advice for consumers to avoid fraudulent practices.
TODAY TOPIC: Postpone Fraud
THE MATTER: Whether you’re moving across the country, across the state, or just across the city, the Better Business Bureau warns of potential scammers in the moving industry. Scammers can turn moving into an expensive nightmare.
HOW THE SCAM WORKS: There are different versions of moving scams. The easiest way is to get a quote and leave a deposit, but the movers never show up. In another variant, the moving company gives a price based on weight. Once loaded, they’ll let you know that your belongings have exceeded the weight estimate and the extra weight is much more per pound – sometimes twice as much. With the most egregious scheme everything seems to be in order. The moving companies quote a price, arrive on time and load your things onto a truck. But if the truck doesn’t show up at your new home, either your belongings are gone forever or they are being held “hostage” and you will have to pay another fee before scammers deliver them up.
HOW TO DETECT A MOVING FRAUD:
Look out for signs of a fly-by-night company. Look for company websites that don’t have an address or information about how to register or insure a moving company. Note if phone calls are answered with a generic “mover” rather than a company name, or the mover uses rented trucks. Another note is if the moving company does not conduct an on-site inspection, but rather makes estimates over the phone.
Be careful with unusual requests. If a mover is asking for a large down payment or a full prepayment, this can be a warning sign. And if a company states they won’t return your items to you without more money than you were willing to pay, contact BBB or local law enforcement for help.
Get everything in writing. Check the licensing with the authorities, confirm the insurance cover and receive a written contract. Read the terms of the contract, the limitations of liability and any disclaimers carefully. Make sure the pickup and delivery dates are specified and understand how the price is calculated. Do not pay cash, prepay or make a large deposit. Understand the terms of coverage and consider purchasing full coverage.
Keep an inventory of your belongings. Take a detailed inventory of your property and number the boxes it is packed in for tracking. Note that a mover is not liable for any loss or damage to content in customer-packed boxes unless the mover can be shown to have acted negligently.
Ask questions. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about something you don’t understand. If the moving company cannot or does not want to answer your questions, you should look for another moving company.
More Information: For more information on renting a moving company, visit www.bbb.org/article/tips/13306-bbb-tip-hiring-a-mover. Visit bbb.org/canton or call 330-454-9401 to visit a company, file a complaint, write a customer review, read tips, and follow us on social media.