Don’t Fall Victim to “Rogue Movers”
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is the primary agency charged with protecting interstate moving consumers. They keep tabs on criminal “rogue movers”. Rogue movers look to scam as well as take advantage of consumers. These scammers use different tactics and tips such as bait switch tactics to scam consumers out of thousands of dollars every single day.
The Set Up:
With the shuffle of planning, packing and preparation demanding your full attention, rogue operators will attempt to earn your trust with low pricing and inflated promises of professionalism. Rogue movers will try and have quick conversations with the consumer with regards to the price of the move. Also they will try to bide past the complete terms of service which usually will change the price of the move.
If you’ve not scrutinized the moving contract (or signed one at all), you’ll likely have trouble getting your goods back from a rogue operation without an excessive ransom payment.
Some will demand a full payment or large deposit before even pulling away from the curb. Others will wait to leverage your goods until they’ve arrived at your destination. Regardless of the tactic, one thing is certain; the price will change and you are going to end up paying more than you expected to get your belongings back.
Beware Suspicious Bids:
Proper moving estimates are a key differentiator between rogue operators and legitimate long-distance movers. A legitimate interstate mover should take a full survey of all of your belongings and ask important questions about your planning, packing delivery and delivery dates. If your mover does not ask questions or go over the details of your move you may be a victim of an upcoming moving scam.
1) The Low-Ball Bid
You should always read through the details of your move especially if you are moving long-distances. When reviewing the costs of your move if it seems to good to be true than it probably is. Scammers will try and hide costs and make you pay additional fees at the end of the move for the services they provided. It is important that you read deeply into all of the details and costs of your move.
2) The Volume-Based Bid
Be wary of movers who quote your long-distance move by cubic footage of truck space and not by estimated weight. While this measure is acceptable for small moves, interstate moves based on volume are considered to be illegal without a weight conversion factor and should be reported to the FMCSA.
3) The Phone-Based Bid
Be aware of movers who conduct surveys only over the phone. If you are moving a large sized home it is very difficult to get an accurate inventory list of everything that will be coming along in the move without visually inspecting the house. Movers that suggest they can quote your move based off a phone survey may be susceptible to extra and hidden costs when the movers are on site.
4) The In-and Out Bid
Similar to the phone bid an in-and-out bid usually will not gather enough information on your move to give you an accurate long-distance moving quote. The estimator should take their time to walk through your home and inspect everything that will be coming along in the move, and to ask important questions regarding your upcoming move.
5) The Handshake Bid
Always insist on signing a completed moving contract before you let movers take possession of your belongings. Rogue operators are notorious for tacking on unplanned fees for packing, climbing stairs, heavy moving or additional weight at the last minute.
More Warning Signs:
Licensed interstate movers are required by law to adhere to certain regulations and standards of practice that make them more reliable and accountable. Keep an eye out for these common violations to spot a rogue move in progress.
1) Rights and Responsibilities
Federal Law requires that every licensed mover provide consumers with an informational packet titled, “Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move”. This is a 25 page brochure that provides you with information on fair practices, industry regulations and consumer rights.
2) Upfront Deposit
No reputable mover should ask for a cash or credit card deposit before they load the truck. If you are presented with such a demand, you may be dealing with a rogue mover. Be sure to clarify payment terms before you sign a contract.
3) Suspicious Terms and Conditions
Some rogue operators attempt to skirt the law with documents that only protect their underhanded interests. Some will present vague agreements that don’t sufficiently protect your property or payments. Others will try to confuse you with complicated legal jargon like ‘choice of venue’ which appears to restrict your right to file legal claims.
When in doubt, insist on having an attorney review the unsigned agreement before contracting services.
For more information on protecting yourself from moving scams and rogue movers, visit : www.unitedvanlines.com