Nothing gets our blood boiling like moving scams. Not only are they some of the nastiest bits of theft around, but they give a bad name to the whole industry so that legitimate moving companies like us have to fight for respect. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been voted the best movers in DC 200 times, people still won’t trust you because of moving scams like these.
Here’s a particularly bad story we heard recently from a friend of a friend, father of 3 little girls about his family’s horrible long distance move from New York to Seattle (or, as we call it: From New York City to Hell…):
The move was far and expensive, so they decided to use one of the cheap interstate moving companies you can find online. The movers showed up one day, packed up the whole house into boxes, loaded them into a huge truck and set off. The family meanwhile piled into their own car, hoping to turn the move into a family cross-country road trip, and to arrive after their stuff had already made it.
The road trip went great – but when the family made it to Seattle, their house was empty, none of their boxes had been delivered. There was no sign of their stuff. It’s everyone’s worst moving scam nightmare. They had voluntarily given all their possessions to a band of criminals… The parents started making phone calls – to the company, to the police, to anyone who would listen. They started feeling stupid and angry too, blaming themselves for having been robbed of every single furnishing, article of clothing, dish and heirloom they owned.
They went out and bought some new clothes and dishes to get through the next few days – and then one day, with no warning whatsoever from the moving company, the truck showed up! The movers ignored all their complaints about being late and proceeded to insist that unloading the truck wasn’t part of the contract, and that they would only do it if they were paid more, in cash, right now – a classic moving scam.
Needless to say the parents were furious. They got into a screaming fight with the movers in the middle of their new front lawn (a great way to meet your new neighbors, right?), and only when they threatened to call the cops that instant did the movers agree to get to work.
They unloaded the truck, and a few hours later our friend signed the receipt and the movers headed out.
Nightmare over, right? Wrong. That was when the family realized about half their stuff was missing – and that about half the moving boxes in their house weren’t their boxes at all, they were filled with the possessions, memories, and lives of some other family!
These cheap interstate moving companies just take all your possessions to one warehouse and drop it off, and then another team of movers loads up another truck with whatever boxes they can find and takes that off to the final destination. Trucks can load and unload several times in a cross country trip, no one person follows your move. No one watches over them, there is no quality control, no guarantee of anything.
So what’s the moral of the story? If there’s a moving tip here, it’s that moving scams are everywhere. If an estimate you get from a moving company online looks too good to be true, it probably is. Stick with companies with positive reviews and a lot of them, and that have maybe even won awards (wink, wink). Also, call references, ask around – don’t take chances with your stuff!