Scams are the order of the day, thanks to the wonderful anonymity afforded by the Internet! Since they can remain unseen, plenty of con artists have utilized the World Web to create multiple identities, cook up fake addresses and contact information, and display phony details of non-existent companies and personnel employed therein. Why, even testimonials concerning customer satisfaction cannot be depended upon at times!
The latest to join the bandwagon are moving services. And mind you, they have perfected their art over time. Take note of the following three profiles of scam that are in vogue today, and protect your belongings!
It is possible that with a hectic schedule, you do not find time to make personal visits to moving companies or even have detailed personal conversations with them. So you decide to engage a BROKER. This middleman’s main job is to take over on your behalf, thus saving you time and money.
So far, so good—for there are plenty of trustworthy moving brokers around. The problem arises when you unfortunately connect to that one rotten apple among the good apples in the basket! This type of “greedy” broker will have a network of affiliate moving companies on the side; and they may not be very genuine in their services. Of course, they are grateful to get customers and do pay a hefty commission for all the leads that the broker supplies. But somewhere on the way, your household goods can suffer damages or be lost, or there could even be unnatural delay in delivery. It hurts because you have paid for the broker’s services as well as the services of the moving company. Can you even remotely imagine recovering your losses?
And don’t worry about the broker—he is laughing all the way to the bank!
Are you impressed by a particular moving company’s website? Look at the professional layout, the detailed information and links provided, and the testimonials from satisfied customers! But are you sure you are dealing with a genuine moving company, or are you being fooled by a broker who has set up the whole thing for his own nefarious purposes? It could be a case of MISTAKEN IDENTITY!
So, how does this person work? There will be plenty of “sweet talk” online (you have no clue as to who you are talking to) from this supposed customer service representative—collection of an advance fee—and referrals to an affiliate moving company that offers reduced rates. Who is the ultimate beneficiary? The owner of the website, for he/she walks away with a large percentage of the transaction!
Who does not want low-priced quotes in these times of recession? While making a comparison of the estimates provided by different moving companies, have you chanced upon this particular one which offers attractive discounts? Naturally, you end up signing on the dotted line (probably without even perusing the written matter thoroughly and not understanding the messages hidden between the lines), for you feel that you are getting a good bargain! Who will provide moving and storage at such reasonable rates?
But the truth of the matter will hit you when the company sends over its van for transporting your household belongings. Your stuff will be loaded, but you will have to pay some extra charges. If you argue and refuse to pay up, they will take away your loaded goods and lock them up. Unless the stated amount is handed over, you will never see your things again. Thus, your stuff is being held HOSTAGE!
We have exhibited some fraudsters among moving companies—so be vigilant always. But here are some suggestions also that you can keep in mind while relocating—
If you reside in Florida, check out a list provided by Seeing Double; you will receive proper guidance.
The best thing to do would be to contact friends and relatives. They will lead you to local moving companies and contractors. This is especially advisable where neophyte companies are concerned. Additionally, they are easy to track down should you face any problems concerning the contract that has been agreed upon.
Even with genuine referrals, why don’t you take out time to make personal visits to the moving companies on your list (you need not go to all; at least, five will do)? Have detailed question-answer sessions on the telephone; there will be office contact information provided on their websites.
If you still prefer to indulge in online transactions because of a wider choice, please go in for established companies. Their track records will speak for them. Even in this case, have telephonic conversations or pay personal visits.
(Do, do READ the document thoroughly and get everything clear before you affix your signature on the dotted line! It is never wise to rush into things, for once the agreement becomes binding, you will not be able to do anything later on.
Does the contract classify your household goods as “undeliverable”? Find out what this means. Quite a few moving companies have storage facilities too—so they will shift your belongings to the storage unit instead of your new residence. Unless you pay up the storage fees or service charges or fines, you will not get your stuff back.
Ensure that you are physically present at the time of loading as well as unloading. In case you are not able to personally receive your goods at the new address, request a friend or family member to be there. The moving company should be able to tell you when the goods will reach your new residence or the storage facility.