It’s no secret that moving can be a stressful experience. While many moving companies understand these feelings and will handle certain tasks to make the relocation process simpler for their clients, other less reputable movers may attempt to take advantage of their clients while they are in this vulnerable state. While a Craigslist ad for cheap moving services may sound like a great bargain, you will need to be very careful to avoid being ripped off.
To protect your belongings, safety, and budget, be sure to watch out for the following:
- Suspiciously low prices: See a price that sounds too good to be true? Chances are good that it probably is. If the advertised price is not clarified by any fine print or context, chances are good that the price will go up as soon as any sort of contingency is encountered (i.e. the need to transport items up and down stairs, long loading routes, etc.). Unless there is a binding agreement or contract, the mover will be able to change the price on you and withhold your belongings until you meet their price.
- Poor reviews: Good moving companies understand the importance of building a positive reputation and will make an effort to ensure their customers are happy enough to leave them good reviews. Steer clear of companies with too many bad reviews. Likewise, companies with a high number of perfect reviews may be scamming the system by paying for fake reviews. As long as customer feedback is overall positive and appears legitimate, you should be in the clear.
- Full payment upfront: While it is common for a moving company to require a small deposit, scammers will often require full payment or a considerable portion of the price to be paid upfront.
What Can I Do to Protect Myself?
There are several things consumers can do before a move to protect themselves:
- Book in advance: Don’t wait until the last minute and choose a moving company purely based on price. Do your research and book a moving service early so you can weight your options and choose a company you trust.
- Schedule an appointment: If you have the time to do so, schedule an appointment to meet with your prospective moving company and discuss the move in detail. Meeting with a company representative can often give you a good idea of their trustworthiness.