As an established company of Edmonton movers with nearly 40 years of experience serving our awesome community, we know that moving can be pretty stressful. That’s why we do everything we can to make our clients’ moves as easy and hassle-free as possible!
However, we’ve both heard of and seen far too many horror stories about scam moving companies.
What’s more, we’ve encountered more than enough unfortunate people who have been victimized by scam movers. These people are now incredibly wary of all moving companies… Which is always a sad thing for us to see.
Moving scammers give the entire moving and relocation industry a bad name. This is because scam moving companies don’t just sucker clients out of money and valuables – they also rob their victims of trust and confidence in all moving professionals.
As such, you do not want to become a victim of scam movers! Luckily, by knowing the signs to spot when you are dealing with a reliable mover versus a scammer, you won’t fall victim of scam movers.
Read on to learn the signs of a scam artist versus a genuine moving company. You’ll also also find some useful tips to further avoid falling prey to nasty scammer moving companies.
1. Inaccurate estimates
Moving companies that give inaccurate moving quotes are a strong sign of a scam.
You might find contractors who give you an estimate without having an idea of what you want to move, the distance to cover, the amount of packing involved, or even the truck that you will need to get the job done. However, all these have to be incorporated into the final cost and, as such, should be reflected in the initial quote.
Most scam movers want to give you a cheaply priced quote so you’ll hire them, only to find out later that they had hidden costs you were never told to expect.
To avoid falling into the trap of such scams, it’s crucial that you go with a company that offers an onsite estimate!
They should come to your home to verify the amount of stuff to move and they should ask you whether you need them to do the packing or if you will do it yourself (if the company offers this service).
Also, they should clarify who will take care of the loading and unloading, as well as inquire about any obstacles that will hinder a smooth move such as staircases, elevators, or narrow hallways.
A good way to protect yourself from scammers is by requesting to have the price quote included in the moving contract. Movers should include a ”guaranteed not to exceed” option for estimates in the agreement. This will protect you from having to get “surprise” charges at the end or middle of the move due to “hidden costs”.
Make sure that you read all the clauses listed in the contract to ensure that the guarantee statement is not limited to particular instances before signing it.
2. Request of deposits
Another technique that scam movers use is asking you to pay large deposits to book their services.
Note that reputable moving companies do not ask for big deposits in order to book their services. Movers who do so are not to be trusted. After all, they could easily just take your money and not show up during the moving day!
Stay away from any moving company that asks you for a big deposit. A small amount can be understandable, depending on the situation, but not an amount that will result in massive losses if you find out that it was a scam.
Also, keep checking with the movers to ensure that they still remember your move and let them confirm that they will be on time as planned.
3. Multiple names
This might seem like an obvious thing, but think about it: Why should or would a company have several names?
After all, a company with one name can be discovered faster by clients, unlike one with several confusing names.
The most likely and most common answer lies is that the company has something to hide, and most probably it has a bad reputation with one of its previous names.
For example, people who get scammed and report the company that took advantage of them to the Better Business Bureau will receive a bad reputation with a trusted consumer protection organization, which motivates bad, scammer moving companies change their business operating names.
To avoid becoming a victim to movers who use this trick, research the company and make a point to learn about the operating names they’ve used.
Also, ensure that the movers you select have the appropriate license, insurance, and a local address. The company should also have a list of references whom they should recommend to you so that you can confirm if it is authentic and get an idea of the nature of their services.
4. Hidden fees
Another tactic that scam movers use is to try charging you for things that they never discussed with you previously.
One prime example is getting an invoice for additional charges because the “access road to your destination is narrow”, which “forced” them to transfer your goods from the truck to a smaller van.
This is total nonsense, to put it bluntly.
You should avoid paying for such costs by all means! Make sure that you discuss details regarding hidden costs with your moving company. Ask as many questions as you feel necessary about the charges that contribute to the final price so that you have an idea of all final costs.
Have the company include these costs in a contract to avoid any misunderstandings and ensure that you fully and completely understand the contract before putting your signature on it.
5. Blank contracts
This is a big one! Always be very, very cautious of any blank or generic/un-detailed contracts.
Scammer moving outfits will ask you to sign contracts that do not have all the information filled in, such as final price or kilometers included. Be careful even if the company claims that they are “busy but will fill them later” with the correct information.
After all, what if you sign a blank contract and contrary to the agreement, the moving contractor goes and fills it with information that you do not consent to? Who will be held liable? You will.
This is because you’re accountable so long as your signature exists on that document, as that directly proves that you were involved in the contract signing process, even though you know you were not present for the details that were later added.
To avoid being a victim of this, never ever sign a blank or incomplete contract.
Remember: Only sign a contract with all gaps filled in and one to which you completely agree.
Also, always ask for a copy of your own for your safe keeping.
You can save yourself from a ton of money and trouble by ensuring that you deal with legitimate movers. So make sure that you look out for the signs covered above with the movers you are considering hiring.
If you notice that the moving company you want to hire features one or all of the signs above, stay away! After all, there a enough moving companies Edmonton to go around, and if one seems scammy then you’ll probably have better luck with someone else.