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 2 Surefire Tips To Dodge Moving Scams

Protect Yourself From ScamsProtect Yourself From ScamsMoving scams are far more common than most people might think. The Better Business Bureau claims that nearly 9,000 reports were made against moving companies in 2010 alone. It’s an easy scam to set up: move a family, then remove valuables to sell on Ebay; or do a sloppy job and damage valuables; or even raise the price of the move even after an estimate has been turned in.


It is important to look out for the warning signs of a moving company that wants to victimize you. You can expose many shady companies, however, by following the two steps below. Once a mover has passed your first couple rounds of inspection (doing your homework on the Internet and a phone call requesting an in-home estimate), you’ll know what to do next.


1. Get a Legally Binding Onsite Estimate

If a professional moving company wants to maintain a good reputation—and stay in business—then they will offer a legally binding estimate. That means you will request an onsite visit, and then an inspector will come over, look over your things—the more thoroughly they inspect your home, the better—before providing you with an estimate.


From the mover’s point of view, a thorough inspection establishes, with relative clarity, the logistics of the move. The moving company will know what size truck to rent, how many employees to bring, what to expect in the way of mileage, and how many hours they’ll spend moving your stuff. If the inspector is haphazard and lazy during the inspection, then you’re likely in for a raw deal.


Make sure the inspector gives you a legally binding estimate—a signed document that guarantees the price of your move. If a moving company doesn’t offer that, than run the other way. A legally binding estimate drawn up after a thorough onsite inspection is the best way to gauge whether a mover is committed to truly servicing its customers. That estimate may have about ten percent of leeway, which isn’t uncommon or unethical.


2. Get at Least Three Estimates

Make sure to temper your estimate with two others. This gives you the power of choice, as well as tremendous advantage when it comes to negotiating. With three signed, legally binding onsite estimates, you can judge if you’re paying the right amount for your move.


Don’t necessarily go with the cheapest estimate. If one estimate is significantly lower than the others, there is likely to be a problem down the line. The estimate may be unrealistic and lazy, indicating an intent to run a scam on you.


Using these two tips—get a legally binding onsite estimate, and getting three estimates minimum—you should have a good amount of information that will screen out many scammers. However, always remember to follow up, research the moving company on the Internet, and trust your gut instincts when it comes to selecting a mover.