FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – With the school year over and the job market in flux, a lot of families are looking for a fresh start.
But a new nationwide study from the Better Business Bureau found that moving scams are a common complaint for those looking to relocate.
It happened to Rebecca Swindler.
She’d just graduated from the University of Southern Mississippi when her mother hired a moving company to bring her back to Michigan.
They hired Angel Van Lines, a Dallas-based company, but say the crew was anything but angelic. “They showed up almost at midnight,” said Swindler.
The men were rude and in a hurry, but things became worse after everything was loaded.
That’s when they told her she needed to pay more money.
Swindler’s $1,200 contract soon ballooned to almost $5,000. It took more than a month for her items to arrive, and when they did? “My stuff came sopping wet,” said Swindler. “Like, you would open up things and you would see mold.”
Unfortunately, her story isn’t unique. Hers is one of 13,000 complaints filed with the BBB on average each year.
It’s a story Luis Perez has heard over and over again.
“Consumers need to do their homework first,” said the DMV investigator. “It amazes me how much research they do after they start having problems with these companies.”
That’s why he says it’s so important to do detective work before contacting the companies.
Look up their license number – for local movers you can check the DMV database or check the FMCSA website for interstate carriers.
Both sites also have companies’ complaint histories. And don’t forget to look online for reviews and red flags. “Social media is an excellent resource because people want to talk about their experiences,” said Perez.
Once you’ve done your research and are ready to contact the movers, get three estimates.
The BBB says they can be in-person or virtual estimates, as long as the company bases it on weight and not cubic feet.
If the company is not interested in getting specific with your belongings, that’s a bad sign.
Finally, opt for full-value replacement liability insurance. Swindler says at the end of her ordeal, the company offered her $60, even though most of her items were water-logged or damaged.
“Many consumers haven’t moved, so they don’t know what to expect,” said Joshua Swyers.
He works for MoveRescue, a group created by two industry giants – Mayflower and United Van Lines – to help victims of moving scams.
Swyers says the bad actors are good at what they do. “The companies that do this, they are professionals. They have unfortunately been doing this for many years, under different names.”
That’s why the BBB and other experts say it’s so important to research before you pick up the phone because you could find yourself at the mercy of criminals. “It’s very easy to fall for their tricks,” said Swyers.
Please be aware of such scams, good to know about this.
Thanks for the information much appreciated.
very helpful information.
These scams are increasing rapidly , one must stay very careful.
Good Info will make sure to keep it in mind.
These Frauds are increasing day by day.
I appreciate the publication of this message, everyone must be aware of this.
There are many companies doing this same exact scam routine.Everyone needs to know about this.
These scams are being so common these days.
Be very careful while dealing these frauds are increasing a lot.
Such an important message for everyone. Thank you very much.
Consumers must research about the companies well enough to prevent such fraud activies in future.
No wonder these scams are increasing so much. Take care guys.
Much appreciated knowledge. you’re doing good work.
I think one must check the company background well enough before dealing with them.
Much needed material for consumers.Great Information
People must check the third party reviews before they even make a deal with a company.
Heard about these scams in news a while ago , consumers must stay alert.
People should be cautious of such frauds and may also report an allegation if they fall for one.