Moving is stressful and expensive. Moving scams make it even worse. One recent moving scam is believed to have over 900 victims, according to WCPO. After moving estimates were increased and items held hostage, some people lost nearly everything they owned. The alleged scammers worked under numerous business names, including Flagship Van Lines.
According to Click On Detroit, one victim of Flagship Van Lines was given an initial estimate of $2,000. The movers tried to raise the price to $5,000 before disappearing with the belongings.
This scam is notable because it has so many victims, but it is far from the only moving scam out there.
Don’t Become the Next Victim.
Although moving scams are common, there are steps you can take to avoid becoming the next victim.
- Check reviews. If you’re considering going with a moving company, it’s smart to check online for reviews and complaints. Some reviews may be fake, so you shouldn’t ignore red flags just because you read a few glowing reviews. Look for balanced reviews with detailed information, as well as numerous reviews spread out over a long period of time.
- Be wary of brand-new companies. Of course, every company was new at one time, but a company that seems new could actually be an old company operating under a new name, a common tactic used by shady businesses trying to get away from bad reviews and complaints. Be especially wary if the company doesn’t provide you with an address or goes by multiple names – these are serious red flags.
- Avoid anything that seems too good to be true. If a company gives you an estimate that’s much lower than you expected, your first reaction might be to jump for joy. Don’t celebrate yet, though. Many shady moving companies lure in customers with low estimates, only to add fees later and hold items hostage if the customers don’t pay up.
- Get it in writing. Everything you own is on the line – this is not the time for a handshake deal. You should receive a bill of lading, a written contract that provides the terms and conditions of the move. Read over this document carefully, and don’t sign anything you’re not comfortable with.
- Verify the mover’s licensing and record. Every mover in our affiliate system is checked to make sure they have the relevant state and federal licenses and the necessary insurance. We also check each affiliate’s Better Business Bureau record, loss history and experience.
- Get moving insurance. Even with a reputable mover, things sometimes go wrong. As a result, your belongings could be lost, stolen or damaged. Moving contracts may offer “released value protection,” or valuation, at no extra charge, but this is not the same as insurance. Because valuation pays out per pound, you could end up being offered pennies for your most valuable items. Protect yourself with moving insurance.
At Relocation Insurance Group, we have a network of moving company affiliates who have a strong track record of service and integrity. When you book your move with one of our affiliates and you protect your belongings with moving insurance, you can feel confident and greatly reduce the stress involved with moving.