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Common moving scams and fraudulent tactics

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Moving can bring a mix of emotions and a long list of to-dos. Among those tasks, choosing a trustworthy moving company is crucial. Unfortunately, the excitement of a new start can be dampened by common moving scams. Companies like Hendra Moving and Storage aim to educate their clients on these fraudulent practices to ensure a secure and smooth moving experience. This guide delves into various scams and offers practical advice to stay safe.

Key Factors to Consider

When planning a move, it’s crucial to stay vigilant against common moving scams. Protecting yourself requires awareness and a proactive approach. Here are essential factors to consider:

  • Phony estimates
  • Holding belongings hostage
  • Fake credentials
  • Bait-and-switch tactics
  • Unprofessional behavior
  • Lack of contracts
  • No physical address
  • Payment scams
  • Fake reviews
Picture of a woman that is thinking about how to avoid common moving scams
There are some specific tactics that fraudulent movers use

Phony estimates

Common moving scams often start with phony estimates. Some movers lure customers with attractively low estimates without a proper assessment of the moving load. Later, the price skyrockets due to unforeseen “extra charges.” Before committing, it’s wise to get multiple estimates and question any that seem too good to be true. Reputable local movers often offer to visit your home or conduct a detailed virtual survey to provide an accurate quote. This step is crucial for avoiding surprise fees on moving day.

Holding belongings hostage

Another alarming scam involves movers holding your belongings hostage. In this scenario, after loading your items onto their truck, the movers demand a much higher fee than previously agreed upon. To avoid this, research and hire reputable companies with positive reviews and clear terms. Checking for past complaints can also give you insight into the company’s practices.

Fake credentials

In Canada, the approach to verifying a moving company’s legitimacy is similar but involves different regulatory bodies and credentials. Legitimate moving companies in Canada should have a Motor Carrier License, issued by the provincial or territorial transportation department where they operate. For interprovincial moves, companies must be registered with Transport Canada.

Here’s what you should look for and where:

  • Motor Carrier License: Check with your province’s transportation department. This license confirms the mover is authorized to operate within the province.
  • Canadian Association of Movers (CAM): Membership in CAM or a similar reputable industry association can be a good indicator of a trustworthy company. CAM members agree to adhere to a code of ethics and meet the association’s standards.
  • Insurance: Ensure the company has adequate liability insurance and workers’ compensation insurance. This protects your belongings and the workers in case of damage or injury.
  • Better Business Bureau (BBB): Look up the company on the BBB website to see their rating and any complaints against them.

To verify these credentials, visit the relevant provincial transportation department’s website, check with Transport Canada for interprovincial moves, consult the Canadian Association of Movers’ website, and review the company’s profile on the Better Business Bureau’s site. Taking these steps can help ensure you hire a legitimate and reliable moving company in Canada, safeguarding you from potential scams and issues.

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Some of the most common moving scams can be avoided by checking for credentials

Bait-and-switch tactics

The bait-and-switch is another common strategy among fraudulent movers. Initially, they might promise a set service or price, only to change the terms once they have your belongings. To protect yourself, insist on a detailed contract before the move. This document should outline all services and fees. Any reluctance to provide a written contract should be a red flag.

Unprofessional behavior

Unprofessional behavior is a telltale sign of a lack of reliability. This can range from movers showing up late to using unmarked trucks, or being rude. Professional and trustworthy companies pride themselves on customer service and professionalism. They understand that moving is a significant event in their clients’ lives and strive to make it as smooth as possible. Paying attention to these small details can make a big difference in choosing the right mover.

Lack of contracts

One of the common moving scams involves the absence of written contracts. Without a formal agreement, customers have no proof of the original terms, leaving room for fraudulent companies to change conditions or prices. Always insist on a written contract before moving day. This document should clearly list all services, fees, and delivery dates. People in need of senior movers, in particular, should be cautious, as they can be more vulnerable to these scams. A legitimate company will always provide a contract to ensure both parties are on the same page.

No physical address

Next, consider the importance of a moving company having a physical address. Companies operating solely online without a brick-and-mortar location can be a red flag. Before hiring long distance movers, verify their physical presence. You can do this by visiting their office or checking their address through an online search. This step ensures the company is established and more likely to be legitimate.

Payment scams

Additionally, payment scams are a significant concern within the moving industry. Some companies may demand a large upfront payment or insist on cash transactions, which can lead to issues if services are not rendered as promised. To avoid falling victim to these scams, use secure payment methods and avoid paying the full amount before the move is completed. It’s essential to understand that reputable companies will have clear, reasonable payment terms.

Fake reviews

Moreover, in today’s digital age, fake reviews are another tool scammers use to appear trustworthy. To combat common moving scams, it’s crucial to look for genuine reviews from verified sources. Watch out for overly positive or negative reviews that don’t provide specifics about the customer’s experience. Real feedback often includes detailed accounts of the move, including both positives and negatives.

Tips for avoiding scams

To stay safe from common moving scams, remember these key points:

  • Conduct thorough research on potential moving companies.
  • Request and check references, as well as insurance and licensing details.
  • Insist on a detailed, written contract outlining all services and fees.
  • Use secure payment methods and avoid large upfront payments.
  • Verify the company’s physical address and consider visiting the location.

Following these steps can help ensure a smooth and secure moving experience.

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It takes time and research to avoid scams

These common moving scams happen more often than you think

Staying informed and cautious can greatly reduce the risk of falling victim to common moving scams. By doing all of this, you can protect yourself and your belongings. Remember, reputable companies prioritize transparency, professionalism, and customer satisfaction. Making the effort to choose the right moving company pays off by providing peace of mind during what can be a stressful time.

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I bought a new fridge, and the delivery people said, "there's no way we can take your huge fridge up the stairs." So I called Hendra Moving and Andrew came out with his tape measure, double checked and said, "yes, we can!" Today, Kelly and Ryan showed up and got the job done in style! Took a bit of maneuvering, but they made it look easy (and I know it really wasn't easy!). Thanks Hendra!

Mathieu Powell

Hendra Moving & Storage

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Do you provide packing and unpacking services?


Yes, we offer professional packing and unpacking services for an additional fee. Additionally, we provide high-quality moving supplies Victoria BC residents know they can rely on. These materials are available for purchase to ensure the safety of your belongings during transit.

Do you offer cleaning services?


Yes, we do offer cleaning services, which can be arranged separately for an additional charge. Right after our furniture movers Victoria BC leave our cleaning crew can help you leave your old space spotless and ready for the next occupants.

How far in advance should I book my move?


It's recommended to book your move as soon as you decide on your moving date. Our schedule tends to fill up quickly, especially during peak seasons, so securing your desired date and Victoria moving services in advance ensures availability and helps us accommodate your relocation needs efficiently.

Can you help me relocate my car?


Absolutely. We offer safe and reliable British Columbia car transport to ensure your vehicle arrives at your new address securely and on time. Our team will handle all the logistics involved in transporting your vehicle, providing you with peace of mind throughout the process.

What should I do if I need to change my moving date?


If you need to change your moving date, please notify our movers Victoria BC as soon as possible. While we do our best to accommodate changes, availability may vary depending on our schedule. We'll work with you to reschedule your move to a date that works for both parties.

What storage options do you offer?


As one of the top Victoria moving companies we offer a variety of storage options to meet your needs, including residential storage, commercial storage, student storage, military storage, realty storage, piano storage, fine art storage, climate-controlled storage, and more. Whether you need short-term or long-term storage solutions, we have options available to suit your requirements.