In an ideal world, your biggest concern regarding movers is whether you’ve truly hired the best of the best. But we don’t live in an ideal world. And while many moving companies NJ are really only there to help you, fraudulent moving companies are surprisingly common. Falling victim to one of their scams is not at all rare. So what should you do if this happens to you? And is there a way to avoid it happening in the first place? If you’re planning on moving soon, then it’s time to find out the answers to those questions.
Learn to recognize fraudulent moving companies so you won’t have to deal with them at all
The best way to deal with a moving scam is, of course, not to fall for it in the first place. But that’s easier said than done! How will you know which movers Morristown NJ are some of the best movers in the country and which are there just to take your money? Well, luckily, there are certain red flags that you can learn to spot and then run from.
Check that the company is licensed
The very first and most basic thing you want to do when looking for movers is to check their license and insurance. Your best bet for this is to search for the company on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration website. While it is only interstate movers NJ who strictly speaking need to be registered with the FMCSA, most reputable moving companies are. This both because most major movers provide interstate services and because not having an FMCSA license is a red flag.
Read the reviews (and learn to recognize fake ones)
Your next step is to check the reviews. If a moving company mostly has negative reviews, don’t waste your time on them. If multiple comments warn of a scam, run in the other direction. But be careful with overly positive reviews as well: they might be fake! Too many reviews that are too detailed, too over-the-top and too enthusiastic or just don’t seem realistic could be a sign of fraudulent moving companies.
Compare moving quotes
Most movers offer free moving quotes these days. Obtain several from different companies so that you can compare them. This will not only tell you which moving company is the cheapest, but also how much you can normally expect to pay for moving services. If you notice that some movers are giving you a significantly lower number than most, this might be a lowball offer intended to draw you in. Companies that resort to this will usually try to scam of you out of a lot more money later on.
The most common scams fraudulent moving companies pull and how to avoid them
Sometimes, an illegitimate moving company passes your initial screenings. If that happens, you might find yourself caught up in a moving scam. These come in a variety of forms, some more common than others. Among the most common ways scammers will try to get money out of you is by increasing the price after the initial estimate or simply taking your money and disappearing.
Increasing the price after the fact
An easy way for fraudulent movers to scam clients is by providing a very low estimate to draw people in and then increasing the final price later on. They will usually do this by citing a higher-than-reported weight of the shipment, a difficult relocation, extra services you didn’t originally plan on or something similar. Often, they will hold your belongings hostage until you pay the higher price. This is why you should be wary of exceedingly low moving quotes – they’re usually a front for hidden fees. In order to avoid this, make sure you get your contract in writing and pay attention to the detail in it before signing.
The disappearing act
Sometimes a scam is very simple: you pay your deposit and never hear from your movers again. Unfortunately, there is very little you can do in the immediate aftermath of this kind of scam. What is worse, you’ll still need to hire new movers to handle your relocation. Your best bet here, if you can’t avoid the situation, are formal complaints and legal action as soon as possible (and often only after the move is complete).
Dealing with fraudulent moving companies after the fact
If you’ve already become a victim of fraudulent movers, it’s time for damage control. What can you do after you’ve been scammed?
Try to work it out with the movers
While this rarely happens, there’s a chance that your movers aren’t intentionally scamming you. If you’re feeling magnanimous enough to give them the benefit of the doubt, try working things out with them directly. Perhaps the reason they didn’t show up is just a scheduling mistake. Maybe the additional charges are a miscommunication. If this is the case, reputable movers will rectify their mistake. Just talk to them first!
Post negative reviews of fraudulent moving companies
If the company you’re dealing with really is a scam, then simply intimidating them into compliance can work wonders. Threaten to damage their reputation by posting negative reviews or taking legal action. You can even post negative reviews to warn others. This is sometimes enough for the company to refund you to avoid further problems you might cause them.
File a formal complaint and take it to court
When you feel you need to take things further, then formal complaints and legal action may be required. Start by filing complaints through the FMCSA and BBB – this is usually enough to straighten things out with most fraudulent moving companies. If that doesn’t work, it’s time to consult with a lawyer. This should always be your last resort because going to court can be very expensive and time-consuming and results are not a guarantee. So do your best to avoid moving scams altogether because dealing with them, later on, becomes increasingly more complicated.