Only scammers lack the scruples to take military families’ possessions.
Moving companies scam military families by loading up everything they intend to move to their new home, and then demanding a higher price than they’d quoted for the military family’s goods to be delivered. As nice as it’d be for every scammer to get caught, it just won’t happen. Here are some steps you can take to ensure you employ honest movers.
Dozens of resources are out there to learn about different companies. Start with your real estate agent who is sure to know some trusty movers. Ask friends who have used a moving company. Check the Better Business Bureau, Yelp, MovingScam or ProtectYourMove if you think you found an honest mover. Those resources will alert you of any outstanding complaints.
Don’t get one estimate and end your search for a mover. At least three estimates are necessary. Get the movers to visit your house and look at what they’ll be moving. There’s no way they can give you an accurate estimate without knowing what they’re doing. Noticeably low estimates—when compared to the others you got—are probably too good to be true.
Get it in writing
A verbal estimate gets you nothing. Tell the movers you won’t go forward without a contract that outlines every detail and omits vague, hidden fees (e.g. “driver’s fee”). Contracts need to include:
- Payment options (never make a cash transaction)
- Name, contact info and address of moving company
- Addresses everything is moving to and from
- Insurance policy
- Costs for weight, items’ condition, truck weight, gas and customs costs
- Dates for pickup and delivery
Get a price in the contract that the movers agree not exceed. This way there are no surprises.
Check their claims policy
If they break an ottoman or drop a box of plates, you need to know what happens next. Find out if the company has its own claims agent or uses a third party. You can prepare for any claims process by taking inventory of all your goods. A list and pictures of everything will take awhile to put together, but make it worthwhile if you need to file a claim.
A few last things
Look through the contract with the movers to confirm the pickup and delivery dates over and over. Check your addresses with them, too. Ask if they need directions. Find out the names of the movers who will pick up and drop off your belongings. When movers show up, ask for the paperwork that proves they’re your movers and ask their names. Don’t be a victim of an unscrupulous scam.