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Tips on Avoiding Moving Scams

By Beth Drucker

Horror stories have been told about moving companies increasing their rates to exorbitant prices - only after loading the owner's belongings onto the truck. And then these companies refuse to return the items unless the owner pays the additional money. Equally appalling stories have been told about moving companies that damage or destroy the items in their care. If you're worried about either of these scams happening to you, you're not alone.

The following are tips on how to avoid such scams:

  • Make moving arrangements in advance. Make sure to look into various companies and check them with your local Better Business Bureau. It doesn't hurt to get recommendations from other people who have moved recently.
  • Ask what services they offer and what rates will apply. If you're afraid of hidden charges, get in writing what it is you can and will be charged for. In fact, ask them for a detailed copy of their estimates.
  • If you get non-binding estimates, actual charges may exceed the estimate, but the company shouldn't be charging you more than around an additional 10% of the estimate.
  • Ask how pickup and delivery will work and specify the dates in your order.
  • Ask them about their liability for your belongings and what claims protection you will have. That way if they damage your property, they'll know they have to be held accountable.
  • You are allowed to be present each time your shipment is weighed, and can request a re-weigh if you feel cheated.
  • Unresolved claims of loss or damage may be submitted to a court.
  • Read the contract carefully and make sure to ask your mover any questions you have ? before signing it.
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