Avoid Moving Fraud

Trusting your valuable household possessions with a complete stranger is a frightening idea. When it comes time to relocate, how do you know the moving company you hire is trustworthy, and how can you avoid moving fraud?

Of course, you can contact a personal attorney to get some action after you have been taken for a ride and the damage is done. Though, there are steps to take to avoid getting hooked up with the wrong moving company in the first place.

Do your homework and check out agencies such as ProtectYourMove.gov, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the Better Business Bureau.

Ask friends and family members for a personal reference. Or, seek the help of a real estate agent whom you trust that is familiar with the area where you are about to move into or are moving from.

Get several estimates. Most professionals recommend that you seek out at least three estimates from moving companies before you decide. Shop around and compare rates. While you’re in the process of collecting estimates, you will get a feel as to which companies seem reputable as well. Be cautious of companies that fire off a rock-bottom price because they may just be in the business to take your money and run.

Get a written estimate. Ask for your estimate in writing, and when you narrow down your search for the right mover, ask for a binding estimate that is considered as a contract.

Don’t pay cash up front. Some professional companies will require a down payment or a deposit. However, those that are on the up and up usually do not require this deposit to be more than just a small portion of the total bill. Never pay in full or more than half of the total upfront, and never pay in cash. Better yet, use a credit card that offers purchase protection so you have some recourse should something go wrong.

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