The physical act of moving your belongings from one Chicago home to another can overwhelm even the most organized individuals. It seems that regardless of how much planning you do and how well-crafted your exit strategy may be, that unknown variable rears its ugly head and causes chaos.
You can do nothing about a driver who gets lost or an item that gets broken, but both occurrences can severely alter your move from manageable to frustrating. But even worse than simple negligence, is a growing trend of mover fraud.
Theyâ€™re called â€œrogue moversâ€ and theyâ€™ve caused a considerable amount of havoc for consumers. In fact, Ed Magedson, the founder of RipOffReport.com has seen and heard thousands of these types of complaints. His website offers consumers a forum to file complaints on everything from corrupt lawyers to bogus moving companies.
One popular scam? A disreputable moving company that holds possessions for ransom in return for a higher fee than originally agreed upon. Consumers moving cross-country are the most susceptible to this type of scam. Companies will intentionally overcharge or ding consumers with indisclosed fees. Surprisingly, many consumers just pay the mark ups and move on.
With a little due diligence and consumer research, moving scams can be avoided. The most common rip-offs include: the estimate, getting it in writing, insurance fraud and the fumbled handoff.
Donâ€™t ever settle on an estimate online or over the phone. This will result in an uneducated guess and youâ€™re no moving expert. Once the truck shows up and loads your belongings, heâ€™ll conveniently let you know that you grossly underestimated the size of the load, which of course results in a couple hundred dollars that you didnâ€™t anticipate paying. Itâ€™s advisable to have a company rep take a look at the load prior to signing anything. The rule of thumb is to obtain at least three estimates in order to gauge the true market price.
Get the offer in writing, include all of the specifics: size of the packed truck, starting time, cost and incidental fees. Once you have it in writing, negotiate from there. If a mover shows up late, appears to be in a hurry and doesnâ€™t have a signed contact in hand, youâ€™re better served to send him away.
Many moving companies offer hollow insurance to protect their loads. Get insurance from a third party or consult your homeowner policy. Most moving companies are licensed to sell insurance.
There are some moving companies that contract jobs out to local operations. That means a third party will be handling your items and the chances of something being â€œlostâ€ or damaged increases exponentially. These companies are hiring day laborers and minimum-wage employees, not moving professionals, thus accidents can and often do occur.
Youâ€™ve already conquered your search through Chicago real estate
, made the deal and packed your belongingsâ€”the hard part should be over. So donâ€™t let a moving scam deflate the excitement of the process.