Rogue movers typically work like this: Without ever visiting your home or seeing the goods you want moved, they give a low-ball estimate over the phone or Internet. Once your goods are on their truck, they demand more money before they'll deliver or unload them. They hold your goods hostage and force you to pay more—sometimes much more than you thought you had agreed to—if you want your possessions back.
Your best defense is to recognize a rogue mover before they have your goods. Here are the "red flags" to look out for:
⚑ Binding Estimates
- A binding estimate is just that. Binding on the items and services listed. The only way the price can legally be increased is if you add items or services not already listed. Be aware of what is listed in your estimate.
⚑ Blank Documents
- Never sign blank or incomplete documents especially estimates. Rogue movers can use these signed documents to add new figures to improperly increase your charges.
⚑ Copies of documents signed
- If you must sign a blank or incomplete document, always get a copy of everything signed or at the very least take a photo with your cell phone! A rogue mover will do their best to see to it you donít have a copy until itís too late.
⚑ Generic Rental truck
- On moving day, a rental truck arrives rather than a company-owned and marked fleet truck.
⚑ Mover claims
- The mover claims all goods are covered by their insurance.
⚑ No company name
- When you call the mover, the telephone is answered with a generic "Movers" or "Moving Company," rather than the company's name.
⚑ No local address, license or insurance
- The company's Web site has no local address and no information about licensing or insurance.
⚑ No inspection
- The mover doesn't offer or agree to an on-site inspection of your household goods and gives an estimate over the phone or Internetósight-unseen. These estimates often sound too good-to-be-true. They usually are.
⚑ Office conditions
- Offices and warehouse are in poor condition or nonexistent.
⚑ Payment first
- The moving company demands cash or a large deposit before the move.
⚑ Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move
⚑ You have more stuff than estimated
- Never go along with the moverís comment ďYouíve got more stuff than estimatedĒ! Should this occur, be sure the mover provides a revised estimate listing the additional items and/or services as well as a price before they begin loading or packing that you both have agreed to and signed. They should also provide you a copy of this new estimate.
- Donít agree to allow the mover to determine the charges after loading!