Moving is a stressful experience. No matter how you plan, and how many checklists you work with, there are issues that seem out of your control. Moving is also expensive. So it is no wonder that one of the concerns people have when they are moving is how to find a reputable moving company. The phone book? The Internet? The Phoenix Forum? Those may be good places to start, but there's more to it than that.
Moving scams are not new, but Arizona state officials have taken up the battles of many new Arizonans who have found themselves victims of extortion: moving companies that tell people that unless they pay them more money -- sometimes thousands more -- than the original estimate, their personal belongings would not be delivered.
The Arizona Department of Weights and Measures responds to frantic calls from people who don't know how to deal with unscrupulous moving companies. According to the Department's website, "Scam artists typically give an unrealistically low estimate to reel in bargain hunters. Many of these companies are brokers who pass on the moving job to another company. An unwary consumer makes a down payment on an unrealistic weight estimate. A crew shows up with a van and picks up the items to be moved. Then the moving company calls and says the actual weight was higher than estimated. Unless the consumer agrees to pay several thousand dollars more, they will not deliver the furniture. The driver must be paid in cash or with a money order. No checks or credit cards. They may also try to add on additional fees."
Tips For Selecting a Mover
- Do your homework. It might not be fun, and it might be time consuming, but diligence is necessary when selecting a moving company. Here's a great article entitled, How to Find a Reputable Mover.
- Remember that if the deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is (too good to be true). Some moving companies estimate low to get you to sign the dotted line on the contract, and then try to overcharge you at the time of delivery.
- There are binding estimates, and non-binding estimates. Make sure you know which one you are getting, and what the conditions are for any additional charges that could be assessed, and on what basis you will be charged.
- You don't want to pay for the weight of a moving van. Get evidence of the weight of the truck. Be present when the weight of your household goods is established. Get a certified weight ticket for your records. Make sure the weight ticket has a certified Weighmaster seal.
- Don't agree to pay cash. Use a credit card company that will reimburse you if a fraudulent transaction occurs. If a moving company demands payment in cash, that's a red flag that something is wrong.
- It is understandable that you want your stuff, but don't pay any extra to the movers until you are satisfied that all contractual obligations have been met, and you're satisfied that you have been charged for the correct weight and service.
- If a moving company threatens to withhold your household goods and personal belongings until you pay them more money due to a claim of greater weight than estimated, call the Arizona Department of Weights and Measures at 623-463-9940.