BBB offers tips to protect against moving scams

BBB offers tips to protect against moving scams

May is one of the most popular months to move, and it’s important to protect yourself from scams and unethical business practices when you do.

The Better Business Bureau Northwest and Pacific said they received an estimated 400 complaints and 110,000 inquiries on over 1,500 moving related companies in the past year.

Common scams they hear about include expensive deposits or price hikes, missing or damaged items, late deliveries, or in some cases, goods being held hostage for additional payment.

To help protect yourself against scams such as these, BBB suggests you do the following:

Do your research. Look up business profiles for moving companies on bbb.org. Many BBB accredited moving companies are a part of the American Moving and Storage Association (AMSA.) AMSA ProMovers identifies companies that have pledged to uphold high standards of trust and to resolve complaints quickly. Be sure to also check licensing with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and confirm insurance coverage.

Get at least three estimates. Written in-home estimates help you make an informed decision. Be wary of unusually high or low estimates. If someone says they can give you an estimate over the phone or by email, it’s possible they’re trying to scam you.

Get everything in writing. Ask for written documentation of any special terms and conditions, complete costs, payment timelines and warranty information. Make sure to also get copies of any documents you sign, especially the most important document, the bill of lading, which is the receipt for your goods and the contract for their transportation.

Protect your possessions. Consider purchasing full-value protection insurance for any lost or damaged possessions. Note that insurance is by the pound, so expensive items such as a flat-panel television may need additional replacement cost coverage in case they are damaged in transit. 

Take your valuables with you. Cash, jewelry, photographs and important papers should be taken with you or shipped separately using a shipping service with tracking numbers and insurance. 

You can report a moving scam here.