We are right in the middle of the most popular time of year for home buying, selling and moving. Unfortunately, the hustle and bustle of the season can leave buyers and sellers susceptible to scams. If you’re preparing to move, here are 10 ways to avoid unscrupulous practices by scammers from the Better Business Bureau (BBB), which handles complaints regarding unethical moving companies.
1. Beware of a low estimate.
A disreputable mover will give you a lowball estimate and add on more charges the day of the move. To keep this from happening, make sure you’re as detailed and upfront about every box and piece of furniture. If you have time, ask the moving company to come to your house for an estimate. Do not do it over the phone.
2. Steer clear of cash-only dealings.
That’s not a red flag – that’s a “Run away!” Remember: You can’t stop cash. You can stop a credit card.
3. Look into specialty movers.
Anybody can move a piano or a snowmobile. But if you have museum-quality art, call in the guys with the white gloves.
4. Deal quickly with “untrustworthy” movers.
If your movers show up and you have a bad feeling about them, call your moving company before anything’s on the truck to suss out scammers.
5. Pack smart.
Keep in mind that the contents of boxes you pack on your own are not covered for damage or loss, so make sure you pack them as well as you can. For valuables like jewelry or small electronics, you should move them yourself.
6. Protect your stuff.
If you don’t like the way the movers are handling your things, be direct. If they’re throwing items around or seem to be otherwise careless, stop the job. No reputable mover wants a problem, so alert your estimator that he or she will have a claim for damages if practices don’t improve.
7. Keep an eye on the clock.
But don’t worry too much about it if it seems like they are “wasting time.” Many people have an unrealistic expectation of the time it takes to move a household, so it may take less or more time than originally believed.
8. Schedule your move wisely — if you can.
Late May through August is jammed with people looking to move, so it’s not an ideal time. The best season is around Christmas.