Moving Scams, Making Sure the Moving Company Weighs Your Goods Honestly During Your Move.
If you find yourself in a telephone conversation with a moving broker, and he won’t agree to give you a weight based move cost estimate, this is a red flag that he is working for a scam company. To assist the consumer, let me provide a sample of a conversation between an anti-moving scams activist on the sly, and a moving broker. I learned about this conversation from an anti-moving scam forum. What follows is an account of the conversation:
“The guy was unclear about how they would be charging me on an estimate. First he tried giving me an estimate by cubic feet. When I contested the method he said that they could work by weight if I wanted to. So I asked him then what the story was; if they charged by cube or weight? His answer was very wishy washy and unclear. He was trying to dance around the answer, which to me is the first sign something is wrong. He then kept trying to push me to work by cubic feet, which is another red flag of a scam.”
On the phone the employee probably tried to sound polite, helpful, and gently persuasive. “It’s really much easier to work in cubic feet,” etc. He also probably offered to make the estimate binding if the consumer would do the estimate in cubic feet. In truth, he’s been trained to use this tactic and he has a very serious purpose in mind.
Moving brokers and online movers like to get the moving cost estimate in cubic feet, because it makes it much easier for the company to raise the cost of the move later on. Whatever the online cubic foot estimate amounts to, it is easy to increase on moving day through “balloon packing,” and “loose loading.”
Balloon packing involves stuffing boxes with light material which adds volume but little weight. On moving day, savvy scam movers, will refuse to insure boxes packed by the homeowner unless the company is allowed to repack the items. The company will repack the items loosely, often adding lots of bubble wrap or other packing material to fill the volume.
Furthermore, although you would never guess by the style of the conversation, the offer to give a binding estimate if the consumer will agree to a cubic weight estimate is obligatory. Consumer regulations require moving companies that are giving non-binding estimates, to make the estimate in weight. While weight estimates can be trammeled with as well, they are harder to inflate than cubic foot estimates. On moving day the company will raise the price and the consumer will remind them of the binding agreement. The company will report that there were additional items being moved, as attested to by the increased cubic foot, and that annuls the original binding agreement!
To really protect yourself on a move, hire an independent packing company to pack and load your belongings. Packing Service, Inc. charge by the item packed and offer a Flat Rate Quote. They make no extra money if the items are packed loosely. Packing Service Inc. is a trusty packing service that is dedicated to protecting consumers from moving scam.