Of the 37 million Americans changing households this year, more than half will make their move during the summer. For some homeowners it will go smoothly but others may have their belongings held hostage by a rogue moving company or be billed more than double the original estimate. “Virtually anyone with a truck and a website can claim to be a mover,” says an industry expert.
Here’s how the typical scam works, according to the Department of Transportation and the Better Business Bureau. Without ever visiting your home or seeing the goods you want moved, a mover offers a low-ball estimate over the phone or Internet. Once the truck is packed with your stuff, they demand hundreds more than the agree-upon price to unload it. Bingo, you’ve been had. Here are the "red flags" to look out for, according to the DOT.
The mover doesn't offer or agree to an on-site inspection of your household goods and gives an estimate over the phone or Internet—sight-unseen. These estimates often sound too good-to-be-true. They usually are.
The moving company demands cash or a large deposit before the move.