Avoid extra stress this moving month
Get out the boxes and packing tape. May is known by many as ‘moving month’, marking the busiest time of year for people relocating to new countries, new cities or new neighbourhoods. While moving can be exciting, it’s also quite draining. It’s often ranked amongst the most-stressful life events, owing to the far-reaching changes it causes in one’s life.
That’s why it’s always a good idea to complete a good amount of research before you leap into the unknown. People often research their new homes, new areas, financial implications and logistics. But they often overlook the possibility of fraud associated with moving – and that fraud can quickly turn an already stressful situation into a whole new nightmare.
Last year, more than 15,000 complaints were filed with the Better Business Bureau against moving companies. Victims reported a variety of scams, from no-shows to movers holding their personal belongings hostage. Some scammers posed as industry professionals, taking their victims’ deposits with no intention of ever showing up on the big day. They can do this in quite sophisticated ways, by creating professional-looking websites, posting fake positive reviews, or even stealing the likenesses of well-known movers in an area. Others may load up the customer’s belongings, only to slap on extra charges because of “unexpected weight” or “additional resources.” Some go as far as to hold the belongings hostage until they’re paid the extra fees.
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) wants to help you avoid these scenarios this month, and all year round. They advise consumers to check for a mover’s registration or statements of insurance on their websites. You should also beware of companies that use a rental truck or offer an estimate over the phone before doing an on-site inspection.
If you are moving for the first time, you may not be familiar with the typical process is. A company which asks for a sizable deposit or full payment in advance may be fraudulent. You should also be sure to get everything in writing to ensure the company cannot slap on extra charges in the middle of the move.
Remember, you are trusting complete strangers with all your possession. Take inventory of what is going in their trucks so you can ensure all your belongings make it safely to the destination.
If you do find yourself in a position where the company is demanding extra payment before delivering your possessions, contact your local BBB or law enforcement to help.
Finally, don’t be afraid to ask questions. A move is major project, one that you’ll want to ensure goes smoothly. If you have any questions about the process, be sure to discuss them with your mover. Be sure to read the contract carefully and have them include terms that were agreed on verbally in case anything changes.
During a stressful time, rely on your local BBB to help you through. The organization has countless resources to help, from ScamTracker, to its lists of accredited moving companies. The BBB has taken some of the guesswork out by vetting moving companies and providing you with a listed of those committed to trustworthiness.
For all things moving safely, visit bbb.org
Better Business Bureau
BBB helps people find and recommend businesses, brands and charities they can trust.