People hire moving companies to relieve some of the stress associated with big moves. In theory, these companies will keep their possessions safe and ensure that everything is moved in a timely and efficient manner.
Sadly, this is not always the case.
In recent years there have been plenty of cases of homeowners who have had their possessions stolen or held for ransom by rogue movers. These cases are so prevalent, in fact, that the governments of Canada and the US have both warned their citizens about rogue movers and the risks they present.
There are a number of tell-tale signs that will allow you to easily determine whether or not you are dealing with a rogue mover.
1. No membership with the Canadian Association of Movers (CAM)
The CAM is a trade association that represents moving and storage companies. Their members include movers and relocation companies, van lines, international movers, and businesses that provide moving-related services such as packing services.
The organization makes members of moving companies who have the appropriate qualifications and solid reputations, which is why not being in the CAM directory is a definite red flag that you may be dealing with a rogue mover.
2. Multiple Cellphones
If you’re looking at a company’s advertisement or browsing through their website make sure to check how many phone numbers they list.
Be sure to pick a company that advertises a land line versus a cell phone number. Multiple cell phone numbers for the same company is a red flag as it generally points to no permanent office. It shows that, at the very least, you may be dealing with an inexperienced mover.
3. (Extremely) Low Prices
Hiring a moving company can seem expensive, but being too frugal when selecting a mover also puts you at a higher risk of dealing with a scammer.
Companies that provide low estimates, whether in person or over the phone, are most likely rogue movers, or highly inexperienced. Some companies will book your job at a low cost and then offer a higher quote to the next caller at the same time. Then they no-show giving preference for the higher paid job.
Similarly, beware of companies that ask for a cash deposit. Reputable moving companies do NOT do this.
In short, run in the opposite direction if you are offered a rate that is far less than the quotes you have from other companies.
4. Advertising services on Craigslist or Kijiji
Reputable moving companies generally do not need to post ads on Kijiji or Craigslist. They use more traditional avenues of advertising, and rely on word of mouth recommendations.
If you do see an ad on Craigslist or Kijiji, and think that the company may be worth your time, do take the extra few minutes to research whether or not the advertiser is who they say they are. Go to the company’s website and contact them though the numbers listed there, not the number on the ad.
In recent months there have been a number of cases of brand hijackings, in which rogue movers have used the logo and name of reputable companies.
How To Avoid a Shady Moving Company?
Now that you know some of the telltale signs of rogue movers, here are four easy things you can do to avoid dealing with them next time you need to hire a moving company.
1. Do Your Research
Before calling any mover do a quick Google Search for movers in your area, look at reviews of the companies that you intend to phone, check out their website, and ensure they are CAM-certified.
2. Ask for recommendations and compare companies
If you have friends who have successfully hired movers, ask them for recommendations. They will surely be able to tell you about their experience with a company and tell you whether or not it’s a good idea to hire them.
Once you have done that, narrow your choices down to at least three companies, and get quotes from them. This way you can compare pricing and policies.
A shady company will stick out like a sore thumb against its reputable competition – promising things like unreasonably low rates and transportation insurance included in the price. If it sounds too good to be true it probably is!
3. Get your agreement on paper
A reliable moving company will provide you with paperwork that clearly states the company’s policies and rates, and provides an itemized list of your possessions. Read every word on the page – especially the small print – before you sign anything.
Then, make sure you witness the company representative signing the paper too, and keep a copy of it.
Action Movers is a CAM-certified moving company
In addition to being voted “Best Moving Service In Vancouver” by the 2018 Consumer Choice Awards, we also have a proven track record of integrity-driven business practices. We are an affordable, honest, and trustworthy company that will treat your valuables with the same care we would treat our own.
We’ll prevent the headache of falling victim to a shady moving company.