Moving Scam Moving Broker, Should you use a moving broker on your next moving experience!
Moving scams are so captivating because they provide modern examples of some of the most shocking neglect and abuse of binding contracts you can find. The scam usually begins with a low ball moving estimate, given by an online broker (a company that will book your job and sell it to another company). On moving day, after the subcontracted moving company has the goods loaded on the truck, the driver names an exorbitant price, usually two or three times the original moving cost estimate, and then informs the customer he will not release the belongings unless he is paid in full. You can see an example of what I am describing illustrated in the following excerpts of a story found on a prominent anti-moving scam website.
I booked this move through a broker and paid a $902 deposit on a quote of $3636.00 (by phone). A mistake, I know….Once our things were on the truck, the foreman told me that if I didn’t give him $400, what he called a ‘good tip’, he would price the move at $9600 and if I paid him the “tip”, he would price it at $7500. When I told him I didn’t have half of $9600 up front, he told me my household goods could be auctioned off to fulfill the contract. I paid the extortion in $160 cash and $240 check (which I stopped payment on once I had a binding price). It is my position that once they tried to extort money from us and threatened our property, all contracts signed after that point was signed under duress.” The movers wanted $3750 up front plus $225 for using my credit card. I was supposed to have $3750 in cash only upon delivery. I asked the foreman about my $902 deposit and he said, “the company gets that.”
Not the mere size of the extortion, but the arrogance with which it is carried out, is practically without precedent in the modern business world. The price being suddenly jacked up from $3636.00 to $8627.00, and the threat to hold the belongings hostage or sell them, almost staggers the imagination. Until one looks behind the scenes and discovers that the movers have the force of a legal technicality behind them, which emboldens their actions.
Movers who have received a subcontracted move are not bound by the “binding estimate,” of the moving broker unless they signed an agreement ahead of time to abide by the estimate. But the truth is that many of these moving companies never sign such estimates, and therefore, can make up any price they want on the day of the move. They wait till they have the goods in their truck, and then name the price.
If logically examine the relationship between movers and brokers, you will see why it is likely that movers rarely enter into these written agreements with brokers. And if they do, they find ways to circumvent them. Moving brokers frequently give “low ball estimates,” and after taking their cut, have trouble finding a mover who will make the move for the small amount of cash left over. In order to get the goods to the destination, they are frequently forced to subcontract the move to small peripheral moving companies who never entered into a written agreement with the broker. At the time of the estimate, they were unaware of the move, and they couldn’t afford to make the move for that price.
Bottom line, brokers rely on the movers to make a living. They have to be good to them. Even if they make some type of written agreement, they can fill it with technicalities which give the mover free reign to name his prices. And since the consumer never sees this document, he is totally in the dark about what can occur.
Even moving experts are fooled by this technicality. For example, in this case, one moving scam expert signed into the forum discussion, confidently quoted regulation 375.409 of the moving code which requires a written agreement to be in place before a broker makes the binding estimate. But brokers can easily find ways around this requirement. For example, a broker may have a written agreement with one moving company. He makes the binding agreement with that company in mind. Only that company always cancels at the last minute. Then he has to find a new moving company, which had no written agreement to abide by the estimate.