ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — For many families, May is a prime moving month. No matter how far the move is, it can be a nerve-racking experience.
And if you aren’t looking to do all that heavy lifting by yourself, experts say there are some things to look out for to make sure you aren’t getting taken advantage of.
Better Business Bureau (BBB) conducted a study that found that scams are widespread in the moving industry.
BBB receives an average of 13,000 complaints and negative reviews about movers each year, with many complaints describing how experiences with dishonest moving companies have turned into financial and emotional nightmares.
“The good news is there are plenty of high-quality reputable movers and checking reviews and ratings at BBB.org is a great place to start. The bad news is for consumers not doing their research, they can end up in the hands of bad movers who can price gouge, tack on additional charges to the move, hold items hostage, or be outright scammers,” said Dennis Horton, the director of Rockford’s BBB office.
Tips to avoid getting scammed:
- Check out reviews and ratings at BBB.org
- Before hiring a moving company advises looking up a mover’s license number on FMCSA’s website
- Don’t Fall for a Front Company: Double check that the mover has a real address and is not just a scam artist representing a reputable moving business. Be sure the mover has lists the brick-and-mortar address on its website.
- Don’t Give a Deposit: A mover that demands a deposit upfront will likely take your money and run. If a mover demands a deposit, move on to a different business.
- Don’t Pay Cash: When you pay cash, there is no evidence of a transaction. If your belongings aren’t moved or you don’t get them back, you have no evidence of ever having paid for the service.
- Look for a Branded Truck: Real moving businesses have real moving trucks, complete with branding and logos. To make sure scam artists don’t drive off with your belongings, check the truck for a logo.
- Do Not Sign a Partial Contract: Ensure the contract is complete and all filled in before signing anything. Make sure the contract is more than two pages and includes all of your goods.
- Buy Extra Insurance: A reputable mover will offer additional types of insurance to ensure you have the highest protection in the event of an accident or damage.
What to do if you are the victim of a moving scam:
- File a report with local police.
- Contact MoveRescue at moverescue.com or (800) 832-1773.
- Go to BBB.org to file a complaint or report a scam on Scam Tracker.