Pattie Lovett-Reid: The risks and dangers of rogue moving companies
The next time you move, be very careful who you choose to be your movers.
It’s the thick of moving season for families wanting to settle into new homes before the school year starts, and while moving can be expensive, you don’t want to find yourself being penny wise and a pound foolish. You need to be very wary of rogue movers.
Rogue movers find their victims through ads on popular classified websites. They will quote a low price and claim there are no surprises, additional fees and the amount quoted is “everything included.” The fraudster typically deals by phone so there is no paper trail.
However, come moving day when they arrive at your doorstep, they present you with a very different contract and fees pile up and extra fees and charges are suddenly included. You will be pressured to sign the contract or be left without a mover. In fact, some fraudsters will hold your possessions hostage until you pay. You are left scrambling to come up with money in the hopes you will get your possessions back.
Moving is already stressful – so here are a few measures to protect yourself from the Competition Bureau:
- Look for certification: Some provinces require professional movers to have specific permits or registrations. This is a good starting point to find a legitimate company. Consult your provincial consumer protection agency for more information.
- Check the company roadmap: Take the time necessary to research the company and consult multiple reviews. Contact your provincial consumer protection agency or the Better Business Bureau to see if they have received complaints about the company.
- Get an estimate: Legitimate companies will send representatives to assess your needs, ensuring your quote is detailed and complete. This is an opportunity to inquire about any surcharges, insurances or additional fees and to ask questions.
- Get it in writing: Do not trust companies providing quotes or contracts over the phone. Get both in writing before the move and take the time to read the information carefully. Ask questions if clauses are unclear and keep records of responses.
- Trust your instincts: If it looks too good to be true, it probably is.