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Warnings go out about summer surge in moving scams

Complaints soar about no-shows, hidden fees, and more
Moving truck
Posted at 6:00 AM, Jun 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-08 06:00:17-04

Is anyone in your family planning to move this summer? If so, you need to hear a new warning from the Better Business Bureau, which is receiving a record number of mover complaints in 2022.

Audrey Coaston-Shelton is among those filing complaints. She is finally unpacking in her new apartment, which is something she worried wasn't going to happen.

She paid a moving company a $100 deposit but says the movers never showed up multiple times, causing her hours of stress and frustration, and the loss of several vacation days.

The first date, when the movers said they would arrive by 2 p.m., she says, "the moving company said none of our trucks are back, and we can't give you a timeline, so call us back later."

So she called and rescheduled, but says they never showed on the second date or the third date. Each time, they claimed an early-morning move took longer than expected.

"Every time," she said. "they said it was too late. OSHA says we are over on hours, so you are not moving today."

She finally got some neighbors to help move her belongings and told the company to refund her deposit.

Complaints soar during the summer months

May through August is the peak season for moving, as well as for mover scams according to the Better Business Bureau.

The BBB says it received over 1,000 complaints in 2021 nationwide, up 200 percent from the year before.

Jocile Ehrlich of the BBB says top complaints include:

  • No-show movers.
  • Damaged items that are not fully covered for reimbursement.
  • Movers hold your goods hostage until you pay more.

She explained how that common scam works.

"Be careful of low ballers, those people who come in and give you a very low quote that sounds great," she said.

"They pick up your belongings, move them, but when it's time to pick them up they say wait a minute, we have all these additional fees that we didn't tell you about. They hold your goods hostage until you pay more."

Ehrlich says to protect yourself:

  • Get quotes from three moving companies.
  • Get a signed, binding estimate.
  • If they won't offer a binding quote, then get an estimate that says the maximum you will have to pay.
  • Read reviews of the company on the Better Business Bureau's website, www.bbb.org.
  • Request a morning move, not an afternoon move when their crews may be tired or running late.

Audrey Coaston-Shelton finally got her $100 deposit back. But she says next move she'll do a lot more research.

"Moving is traumatic on its own, but to be pushed back three times is much worse," she said.

So make sure you look for reviews and complaints about any moving company, and that way you don't waste your money.

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