HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Summer is here and many people across the Tennessee Valley may have plans to move. Whether you’re moving across the country, across the state, or even across the city, the Better Business Bureau wants to warn you of potential scammers in the moving industry.
Spotting a Phony Moving Company
Moving can be a very stressful process. The BBB says there are easy signs of a phony moving company that you can spot before or during the moving process.
The BBB warns of what's called fly-by-night movers. Those are movers who show up to your house in an unmarked rental truck instead of clearly marked company truck. The movers leave with your possessions inside. You don't notice until you show up at your new home without the movers in-tow. The BBB advises that most professional movers will wear a uniform, have background checks, and also provide an order number so you can track the move.
The BBB also wants you to be aware of movers that hold your items hostage. This means they will help move your belongings, but at the end, they will refuse to release them to you unless you pay more money.
Finally, the BBB says phony movers will try to gain your trust and tell you there is no need for a written contract. Contractors will then try and deny any responsibility if your belongings get damaged and in some cases, will try to charge you more money.
How to avoid a phony moving scam
If you know you are going to be moving, the BBB has several tips to keep in mind if you are searching for a moving company.
The first thing the BBB advises is do your research. Look at customer reviews and see how long the company has been in business. The BBB says that most accredited moving companies are members of the American Moving and Storage Association or the Canadian Association of Movers.
Next, you should verify the companies credentials, claims, and memberships. Be sure to ask for a proof of valid license and double check and make sure they are legally able to move you to your new home. All legitimate moving companies should be registered with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
A third tip, get everything in writing. The BBB suggest you get at least three written estimates from different movers. They say it’s also best you have all the services you are getting documented.
The BBB also suggest that you talk about money. Figure out how and when a company expects a payment from you. While most moving, companies will require at least a 10% deposit, the BBB suggest you still find out what your payments are going to be and how you should pay.
Lastly, the BBB suggest that you prepare for the worst, property damage. They say it’s important that you inquire about non-protected items like jewelry, money, or any hazardous materials. You also want to see what your homeowners insurance policy will cover if anything is damaged in the move.