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Moving Company Scams – Movers Scam

You probably haven’t heard or even are not aware of moving company scams. Nevertheless the moving industry seems to be much more scam-ridden than many other industries. Before we begin I just want to point out that is recommended moving yourself if possible, or using a you-pack/we-drive service. Although sometimes circumstances don’t allow that so we will discuss some tips on avoiding moving company scams and how to find one you can trust. But first lets take a look what moving scam is and how it works.

Most moving companies are completely legit, however more than a few will try to trick you into paying a lot more money than you expected. Leaving normal transportation scratches aside, moving can become a big stress factor and pain if you run into a moving company scam. It starts with moving companies trying to beat each others low bid to move your possessions for you. Basic rules of competition that you would take advantage in most cases, but not in the moving industry. At least let the low bid not be your priority when choosing a moving company, because in the end you may get a double or triple than your estimated quote.

moving company scams

As mentioned before competition is usually a great thing for the customer, because of the lower prices the companies have to give in order to survive in the business. As the number of competitors was rising the prices for moving were falling, which meant that it became more difficult to make a profit. At this point some of them began holding your goods ‘hostage’ while they demanded that you pay some extra fees that have occurred during transportation or any similar trumped up lie. There was a case of a company who has given an estimate of $2000 for the transportation. The contract was more or less blank. The contract which has been signed by the customer had lots of room to add additional information and fees to it after it was signed. The estimate then doubled, and because the customer protested, they still hadn’t delivered her goods six weeks later.

As you see one important factor in moving is the estimate. Most consumers believe that only one estimate exists and that is the one who gives you an estimated price which can however be double of the amount or half of the amount. In fact there are actually three types of estimates that are common in the moving industry. You should be aware of all of them;

Binding Not-To-Be-Exceeded – This true estimate is the preferred and most favorable for the customer. A basic understanding of it means that even if your actual weight exceeds the original written estimate, you still pay for only the amount of the estimate. But if your actual weight is less than the estimate, then you pay less than the amount of the estimate. A binding-not-to-exceed estimate can only get lower, not higher. If you can you should definitely choose this option!

Fixed Price Agreement – If you sign this you agree to pay the fixed amount of the binding written estimate whatever the actual weight in the end is. Risk to the costumer is that the moving company could overprice the estimate to get extra money for pounds that don’t exist. The risk for the moving business is that the costumer could sneak in items that were hidden and not included on the original estimate. However the risk to the company is almost does not exist, because the truck driver has the right to “challenge” the binding estimate on loading day, before actually loading, if he thinks that the estimate is too low.

Non-Binding Agreement – You agree to pay for the actual weight, not the estimate, based on a set price per pound. The final bill could be higher or lower than the original written estimate, depending on the actual weight.

GUIDELINES TO AVOID MOVING COMPANY SCAMS

  • Most of the moving company scams can be found on the web. They have a convenient few clicks method of getting the estimated price on their web site and with their low bids lock you up. Many of these web site moving companies don’t even have an office or claim to have one far far away. Choose your moving company locally. Choose one that you have personally seen the office of
  • Any true business of any value can rely on mouth to mouth promotion. When they do a good job, customers will recommend them to their friends or talk about them when inquired. So ask around for a moving company who left positive and pleasant experiences behind
  • Trust established businesses above newcomers! Try to find moving companies that have been in business at least ten years. When you find the moving company of your choice get as as much information about the company that you can. Get the full company name and any DBA names, their physical address, phone numbers (local and toll-free), government license numbers, company web site address and email. Do a search online to make sure the company isn’t already a known scammer; go to the address of the company and check out their yard and their trucks. Obviously there are reputable firms online, but there is an unusual number of horror stories from customers who hired movers online. Last but not least, get references and call them. Ask for opinions and previous experiences with this particular moving company
  • Is the price estimate based on square feet or weight? If you are given a quote by square feet you should rather try another moving company. This alone is not proof that the mover giving you a quote won’t be honest but it’s definitely something to be cautions about. A lot of space can be left between your moving items when loading a truck. While a moving company who gives quotes by weight will try to squeeze as much as possible into one truck, the company charging for square feet may need two trucks for the same amount of items, leaving you with a bigger bill. You should definitely ask a prospective mover why they are quoting you in square footage rather than weight before anything is signed
  • Move yourself. Call some friends that will help you pack everything, rent a truck and load it with your possessions. If can’t do it yourself because you have to little time or are to lazy, you can even hire a few workers that will pack and load a truck you have previously rented
  • In the united states there is a document called Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move that every moving company must have. Ask for a copy of it and you will see while moving companies are legally obligated to give it you, scammers will not want you to have that information. In other countries probably a similar document exists. You can see a full online copy of Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move here

The most drastic solution would be to sell everything and start again. This may sound extreme to many, but some can give up their possessions easily, especially if they don’t have many.

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16 Comments For This Post

  1. Florida Mover Says:

    Great tips, choosing the right moving company is very important. Don’t get fooled by scammers.

  2. Robert vance Says:

    Just so everyone is clear, United Van Lines, Atlas, Allied and other major carriers all follow same guidelines for pricing.
    HERE IS THE SCAM. Weight tickets. Where do they weigh the shipment? Who regulates weight tickets? The answer NO ONE. Most shipments are weighed at the truck stop on a certified scale, but you can weigh someone else’s truck or hang a tire on the scale for your light weight. Heavy weight , is it before or after the driver filled his tanks with fuel and added 2 thousand pounds of weight to the shipment. You can pull a truck on the scale with the front axles of another truck on the scale with you and get whatever weight you want. The CAT scale weight ticket or any other weight ticket is a SCAM. Yes, the scale is certified, but it is only certified to whatever is on the scale. Some companies print up their own weight tickets. How can you pay based on a fake weight ticket?

  3. AS Mentes Says:

    Whatever you do, stay away from a company called CMS Complete Movers (aka LMS Moving, aka Logan Moving & Storage).

    Here’s how their scam operation works:

    They gave me a quote of $120 for 2 hours minimum over the telephone with no inspection of what needs to be moved. (By the way, this was a small moving job…it only took about 60 minutes to complete the move because there were few items.)

    Anyway, once they loaded my belongings into their truck, they gave me a piece of paper with a date written on it to sign with nothing else.

    Once they arrived at the drop off address, before unloading the furniture, they handed me a bill for $211.

    When I indicated that I was quoted at $120 over the phone, they threatened to keep my belongings in their truck, drive away and sell them.

    I then had no choice but to pay the extra (ransom) $91 dollars under protest. Totally outrageous!

    I then called the company and spoke to the person who gave me the $120 quote over the phone. He told me there would be no refund of the extra scam charges, and when I persisted in asking questions, he started using foul language. Total scumbags.

  4. Elise Says:

    Robert Vance, by law you can demand a reweigh and you can be present for it.

  5. Elise Says:

    When weighing is done properly, the truck is weighed without the load, and then again with it. Not a lot of room for scamming if you’re standing right there. Take charge. No one can actually scam you without your consent.

  6. giovani Says:

    hi,

    I found a great company that give better solution for moving scams. Packing Service Inc. packs all your belongings with dedication and all the necessary equipment so all your items are safety pack.Once everything is packed and ready, PSI will even load your belongings
    into a truck for you, or will give you the exact weight and cubic feet in order to avoid moving company scams.They are the only company that offers flat fee guarante estimates. You can even find their review in the BBB (Better Bussiness Bureau) and see if their reputation is good.
    visit their web page for more info http://www.packingserviceinc.com

  7. JCG Says:

    I am in the midst of a catastrophe with my international move. I was moving from Las Vegas NV to Budapest Hungary. We hired a company in NJ, Omega Shipping, to handle the door-to-door move. We received a quote for around $6500, signed the contract… and that’s when the problems started. Once everything we owned was picked up locally, we got the invoice for $11,500 and a call saying, “You had much more stuff than we has estimated.” Apparently, this is the ever-present Moving Scam I have been reading about online. Needless to say, we paid the full amount (via bank transfer), and now, 7 weeks later, we have nothing. To make matters worse, the local company here in Budapest, EuroMove, which was subcontracted by Omega Shipping, was blatantly trying to scam us too. They thought that since we were Americans that we didn’t know the regulations. The local customs officials told us they were trying to scam us. We caught them, contacted Omega Shipping, asked for another company locally, and were basically told too bad. In fact, I received an email from the president of Omega Shipping, Boaz Aviani, telling me that the tone and “accusations” in my complaint were unacceptable and he would no longer deal with me. I freely admit that I told him in very specific language what a disgrace he is. Of course, they’ve got my $11,500 and now my stuff is en-route to Europe and I have no idea where it’s coming in, who’s going to pick it up, how I’m going to get it into Hungary, and who’s going to move it in. This company scammed me unlike any other I’ve ever seen- worse off, the low-ball quote then hitting you with huge fees, essentially extorts you into paying the amount they request, no matter how illegitimate. When someone has possession of everything you own, it’s hard to argue; then when you have had enough, and fight back, they just ignore you. I have no idea when I’m ever going to see my property. DO NOT EVER USE OMEGA SHIPPING FOR ANYTHING!

  8. Robert c.kao Says:

    Dear G.Manager

    We are a big manufacturer of moving blanket/pads at USD1,98/pc FOB Shanghai port ,if you

    would like to cooperation with our company long time,please contact us soonest.

    My email:gaojz2004@hotmail.com

    Looking forward to your contact soonest.

    Thanks a lot.

    B,Regards

    Robert C.Kao

    Tongxiang Xiaoying Pollution Control Technology Co., Ltd
    No.104-03 Shaoxi Apartment,Wuzhen Town
    Tongxiang City, Zhejiang 314501, P.R.China

    Attn:Mr. Robert C.Kao
    Tel :0086-573-88715-777

    Fax:0086-573-88715-877
    Email:k_chenghai2000@sina.com.cn
    http://oil-absorbent.en.alibaba.com

  9. MN Resident Says:

    Report of a scam below:

    We needed to move a one-bedroom household from CA to MN, of a total weight of approximately 1000 pounds. Representatives of the carrier “World Moving Services” (http://www.worldmovingservices.com) assured us over the phone that they do these kind of small moves, and they charge according to weight, and obtained a $750 deposit from us by rushing us through the paperwork. It turned out that for all moves up to 3000 pounds they charge a fixed amount ($2250), and all their phone conversations were to defraud us of the initial deposit. They informed us about this a few hours before the move, so we were forced not to use their services, so as not to be defrauded of additional money and possibly our valuables. We thought of trying to obtain legal settlement, but decided not to do it just because of the hassle (of having to subpoena our mobile-phone company for conversation transcripts, if they had it recorded) for $750.

  10. Nevil Says:

    see also http://www.omegashipping.blogspot.com/ this Omega Shipping are BAD!!!

  11. Andrea Says:

    The worst mover I have ever used was
    Atlantic transfer- they broke and damaged everything and refused to give me any compensation. They are crooked and a divison of Beekins.
    Don’t EVER use them unless you want your belongings ruined and damaged.

    Andrea

  12. Vivienne Says:

    If you do not want to be financially raped please do not use Americarrier Moving Company based in California. They are scammers; they low-balled me without looking at my goods. Showed up a day later than what we agreed on and charged me $600.00 more that what we agreed. They were also over 3 weeks late delivering my stuff and would never answer their phone and were extremely rude to me when they did. They used a sub-contractor when they told me they would not. And the nightmare only begins here. Please Please save your self the hassle and if you love your stuff and do not use them.

  13. Enelrad Says:

    Do NOT USE 3Gorillas Moving & Storage in Tucson AZ; they will not provide a written estimate, will not send someone out to inspect load and then will try to scam you with total time it would take so that you hire more people; they won’t disclose whether it’s hourly, or other detailed information such as what insurance includes, etc. They quoted me 650.00 over the phone, then held my 55″ TV hostage on their truck until I paid them 2310.00. Lawsuit forthcoming.

  14. jennie Says:

    I used a moving company from MI to PA. There were called American Movers Group out of Dallas. I was charged $1100 for a small 1 bed worth of furniture. They were a day late from the original date making me late for work, then charged me for packing of the recliner and sofa. The woman that was with the two men was very careless dropping my fan and mistreating my vacuum cleaner. The one black dude was being paid undercover (wasn’t even hired w/the company). Thank God I did get my things back, but my tower fan had been broken. A year later I was moving again, and I just happened to look up their website to see if they still existed, not only did the site no longer exist but their telephone number was blocked according to the automation. I’m suspecting they went out of business and were perhaps a scam.

  15. Ray Says:

    Statewide Van Lines

    Moved from Georgia to Louisiana
    They gave me a binding quote of $6,738.00, but raised it to $15,000.00 once loading the truck. I had to agree to it. They gave me no choice. When the delivered most of it I had to give them 5 $1,000 money orders or they wouldn’t unload it. When they unloaded it, everything was damaged.
    Many things were missing. They stole several items. Many boxes that they packed are missing. My 80yr old Mother inlaw’s Dead husband and sons pictures are gone. She stays upset. My heart only works at 34% and I don’t sleep from the stress. No one will help us. I didn’t know were else to turn. My wife of 40 years stood at the back of the truck crying while they unloaded our damage things. I did take out insurance on the move. The adjuster said, it was the worst he had ever seen. They paid off over $8,000.00. They wouldn’t replace the stolen items however. I want justice but haven’t been able to get it. I want our things and my money back. I wish they were in jail. The stress is killing me. I reported it to the FBI today. BBB didn’t do nothing.

  16. Scott Hamilton Says:

    SOS delivery and movers located in ST. Catharines Ontario is bad news. This so called company
    is Run by Robert Klassen who has been charged many times for scamming seniors in the Ontario area.
    He was just charged for fraud involving a water purifier scam. He also has a bunch of charges pending by the Niagara Police for defrauding customers out of money. Many of the people are seniors who he takes advantage of. Now he is running this company SOS delivery and movers. Someone should send out a big SOS to anyone who does business with this guy he would rip his own mother off and has. This new business will be like taking candy from a baby for him. Look out Niagara region.

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