Now that you’ve negotiated to buy your dream house or rent that fabulous apartment, you need to schedule a moving date and hire a moving company.  Sounds simple yet you must beware of the most common scams perpetrated by unscrupulous moving companies.  Before you hire just any old mover, review our list of the worst moving scams that could happen to you.  Remember that forewarned is forearmed, and that FlatRate Moving can help you avoid costly and humiliating scams!

Who’s That Moving Company?

Would you want a perfect stranger to just walk off the street and move you to your next home? Even though you probably never met the movers who will end up transporting your possessions, if you hire a reputable moving company you most likely won’t have to worry.  Angie’s List recommends meeting moving company representatives at their office to verify that they are not a fly-by-night firm and do business at a real physical location.  When interviewing potential moving companies, find out if they are licensed and never schedule a move through a third party, says Today, unless it’s via their customer service department.  Red flags like a blank website saying Huffington Post, or using several different names or similar names to established companies, says AARP, should make you wary.  When the moving van arrives confirm that it displays the company name and is registered with the Department of Transportation with a special number.

No Receipt, No Contract, No Service

Leaving a paper trail for any transaction or agreement just makes sense.  When deciding on what moving company to hire, ensure you get written estimates.  If you receive a vaguely worded contract, be concerned because who knows what you’re signing.  Use a credit card or certified check to pay for moving services, so that you have a record.  Review your contract; ask questions regarding moving terms and research local and state regulations.  Take note of instructions on filing claims and what both moving insurance and your homeowner’s policy cover.  AARP points out that you should receive a copy of “Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move” which is required by federal law.

Unexpected Weight Gain

A popular but confusing scam is when the moving company pulls a “bait-and-switch”, says Today. In this scam, the company gauges the price of what’s transported by weight, but when the bill arrives, they claim the haul was measured by cubic feet which alters the price to your detriment.  Don’t fall for this one.

Holding You Hostage

Another trick some moving companies play is underestimating the correct or approximate amount of what it’s worth to move your possessions from home A to home B.  When deliveries are scheduled, says Today, the moving company requests a larger fee than proposed and will not release your furniture or belongings (some companies even place your delivery in storage!) until you pay what they want even if you dispute the price.

Just One More Thing

Watch out for extremely low original estimates! Some moving companies add extra charges unbeknownst to you or offer estimates without eyeballing the number of moving boxes or contents of your house and overcharge you, says AARP.  Just because a moving company offers the lowest price doesn’t guarantee the best service.