How To Avoid Moving Fraud
There are a number of moving companies with household names and with excellent reputations to go with them. On the other hand, there are also some companies where consumer caution should be exercised — reports of fraud have surfaced. Before you choose a moving company, you should know that the federal government has given consumers certain “rights and responsibilities” to help them avoid fraud.
- Ask for a binding estimate. All moving companies are required to provide written estimates per the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) regulations. Although they aren’t required to provide binding estimates, the legitimate companies usually give them if you ask. A binding estimate ensures that the price estimated for you move will be your cost.
- Ensure that the documentation is complete. No moving company representative should present an unfinished document. Gaps in information may be filled in later and without your awareness. Always inspect the document before signing it.
- Get your dates guaranteed. Your moving company can provide guaranteed pickup and delivery dates. The first date may be the most important one as it ensures you move out of your home on or just before the day of closing. The second date — the arrival date for the furniture at your new home — is important too. Without a firm arrival date, you may find yourself sitting in a hotel for days awaiting the movers to show up at your new home.
- Know what insurance is offered. Find out what types of insurance is offered. Some movers provide a valuation while others provide actual insurance. If something is not covered, then you may need to take out a separate policy, driving up your moving costs.
- Be present for each weighing. By law, you have a right to be present when your goods are weighed. You also have a right to have your shipment reweighed explains the Allied Moving Companies.
- Confirm your method of payment. What payment methods does your moving company accept? That method should be confirmed in writing. Moving companies typically accept cash, checks, and credit cards. Debit cards, a money order and a cashier’s check are other options. If a deposit is required, then find out how much and what method is required.
- Understand the dispute resolution program. You know you’re dealing with a shady operator if you ask about their dispute resolution program and the representative states, “We don’t have one.” This is illegal — moving companies must have one and be willing to present it to you. At this point, you should simply dismiss the representative and consider the legitimate companies.
- Workers may not be employed by the moving company. Never deal with a household goods broker as they serve as an intermediary with a moving company. The company does not own its own fleet and they have no authority to make a contract with a moving company. Deal directly with the moving company only and you’ll avoid problems, such as no truck showing up on the day of the move or someone absconding with your belongings.
Make Your Move
Your moving experience should be as drama-free as possible. This doesn’t mean that a problem may not arise. What it does mean is that the moving company you choose will work diligently to ensure that your rights are protected both from a legal and from a reputation standpoint.
Always confirm with the moving company representative the date of your move. Then reconfirm a few days before it is scheduled to take place. The legitimate companies will bend over backwards to ensure that you’re satisfied as they know that their competition will do likewise. Then, make your move in peace and get ready to get on with your life.