Officials from Washington DC-based, Unified Moving Services, offer tips on avoiding moving companies that are out to scam customers.
Online PR News – 20-May-2015 – Hyattsville, Maryland – According to Gary Stone, president of Unified Moving Services (www.unifiedmovingservices.com" target="_blank" class="highlight_link" rel="nofollow">http://www.unifiedmovingservices.com), a Maryland-based full-service moving company that specializes in both residential and commercial moves in the Baltimore-Washington metropolitan area, most victims of a moving company scam don't notice the warning signs until it is too late.
“We have met countless people over the years who have told us horror stories about experiences they have had with unscrupulous Moving companies,” Stone explains. “In retrospect, most of these folks see the red flags clearly, but during the whirlwind of planning a big move, they never seem to see it coming.”
In one “nightmare scenario,” Stone says that a mover held everything hostage from a customer in a storage facility until they paid as much as $2,000 get their stuff back, after already paying nearly $4,000 up front. After a court order, the interstate move was finally complete, but only after paying nearly $7,000 to another moving company.
“Unfortunately,” Stone says, “these horror stories are not exactly rare.”
Here are some red flags, according to Stone, that customers should look for when they are shopping around for a moving company.
Unscrupulous companies will ask for the entire fee upfront, but even half is a lot for a company to ask for, Stone says, noting that the majority of the payment should be made at delivery.
"Generally, reputable companies will not ask for any money upfront," Stone explains.
Watch for Increasing Costs
“Moving companies will sometimes keep items in storage until they can get another order to fill a moving van,” Stone says, “but you shouldn't have to pay to put your stuff in storage or pay any other fees not part of the original contract.”
According to Stone, Federal law allows up to 110 percent of a price estimate to be charged upon delivery, but costs can't increase without your preapproval.
Watch for Low Quotes
Stone says that lowball pricing is a technique used by disreputable movers to lure and scam customers who are then hit with added charges when the truck is loaded or have their belongings held for ransom.
“The best thing to do is to get three estimates,” Stone explains. “Be wary if one is much lower than the others.”
Avoid “Unknown” Companies
“Small companies can do the job, just be sure to check them out first,” says Stone. “The company you choose should have offices in your area and should have been in business for at least a few years.”
Referrals from friends can be helpful as well, he says, but be wary of companies that only have an online presence.
Avoid Phone Estimates
A phone estimate won't work for something as complicated as a move, Stone explains, and Federal law for interstate moves requires an in-person estimate. Also, customers should demand a written estimate.
“The distance of the move and the weight of the items being moved are factored into the cost, and an accurate estimate can only be done in person,” he says. “Pickup and delivery dates should be included in the written estimate.”
Stone says that moving can be one of the most stressful times in a person's life and says that disreputable companies pray on that knowledge. He says that customers should look for moving companies that will make your move less stressful, not more.
Unified Moving Services is a full service moving company, located in Hyattsville, Maryland, that specializes in commercial, residential, local, interstate and international moves. Through an organized team of office staff, movers and a well established name and reputation Unified Moving Services has provided services to thousands of satisfied customers across the country and around the world. 2015 marks ten years of Better Business Bureau accreditation for the company. For more information call toll-free at 1-800-406-1649 or visit them on the web at www.unifiedmovingservices.com/" target="_blank" class="highlight_link" rel="nofollow">http://www.unifiedmovingservices.com/>.