Moving Tips&Tricks April 16, 2022

What Are Moving Scams and How to Avoid Them When Relocating Internationally

Lucy Lucas

Born and raised in Miami, Lucy is a content writer with a love of moving and packing. She is an expert at making sure everything fits into her suitcase.

If you’re planning on moving internationally, you’re probably already planning on hiring professional movers to help you out with the process. When searching for an international moving company to handle your move, be aware of moving scams that could happen to you. This article will answer the most common questions people have about moving company scams

How Do Moving Scams Work and What Constitutes a Moving Scam?

When you’re moving abroad, especially if this is your first time relocating, you might not think too much about the fact that there are plenty of fake businesses out there that earn money by scamming clients. These firms either don’t complete the move, steal some of your household belongings, or overcharge for the services.

If you’re planning on living overseas, you should definitely read through this article carefully, just to be aware of the problems these unreliable companies could cause you. You should be very precarious, so you don’t become one of their victims.

What Are the Most Usual Scams That Occur?

It’s important to be aware of what actually constitutes a moving fraud and which ones occur the most frequently. Here’s a list of the most commons swindles that could happen:

  • Creating a fraudulent bill that lacks important details such as the type, quantity, and destinations of all goods being shipped to your new home.
  • “Weight bumping” represents adding a fraudulent weight to your shipment. More pounds equals more money, and some people want to scam you by earning off of nonexistent pounds.
  • Volume-based bids are also problematic because not everyone will manage to fit the same number of belongings into the same space.
  • Give you a significantly higher quote from the one you agreed to before the move.
  • Threatening to withhold your personal goods if you don’t pay the higher quote they adjusted.
  • Falsifying the number of packaging materials and supplies that are provided for the move to obtain more money on pretenses.

Any of these experiences can be stressful, and you should avoid them at all costs. In the following text, we’ll share with you some tips on how to prevent these types of unpleasant situations.

How To Recognize an Unreliable Company?

When you’re planning on moving overseas, you want to be researching topics such as the best places to live abroad or the best countries to live in, and definitely not “How do you avoid moving scams?“. However, it is necessary to educate yourself on this topic to avoid unpleasant situations and unnecessary relocating stress.

How Do I Know if a Moving Company Is Legit?

Fraudulent companies are much more noticeable and discrete than you might expect. If you want to be sure that the people you’re trying to hire for assistance are not frauds, you need to thoroughly research everything about their business. Here are some of the tips that could help you spot fraudulent behavior much easier:

  • Find as many reviews as you can on their business. Usually, companies have a review section on their website, but it isn’t the only thing you should read through. Try to find more comments on their work on different forums and blogs and see if other people had any unpleasant experiences when working with them.
  • Checking their internet presence is the simplest way to confirm if they are legitimate or not. If you don’t find anything under their unique name, it could be a huge red flag.
  • Verify the licenses they own. With international business, this one might be a little bit more complicated than with the interstate ones. You can try contacting federal authorities to find out how long they have been active or how many times they have changed their name.
  • Check if the firm is licensed through the FMCSA (The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration). Their job is to regulate interstate relocation companies, but they could help you by providing information and solving any doubts you may have about the reputability of certain businesses.
  • Contact them and ask them a few specific questions about the relocation process. Ask them about items movers won’t move, or something about relocating with dogs, and similar questions. If they fail to give you the right information, or they don’t feel open to communicating, it’s a red flag.

How To Recognize If the Company Is Trying to Trick You?

Let’s say you found a business you want to hire for your relocation across the world, and you feel as if you’ve done enough research on them. You’ve probably contacted them, and now they need to offer you a contract and certain propositions for their assistance. If you haven’t spotted anything suspicious through researching, maybe you will if you pay attention to these next few things.

Giving You a Questionably Low Estimate for Their Services

If they happen to give you an incredibly low estimate that seems way too good to be true, it probably is. This isn’t anything unusual when it comes to scammers. The most common type of fraud is the low-ball bid when scammers offer significantly cheaper rates in the beginning. Also, offering an instant price without an onsite inspection is not right, as there’s no way to properly asset the inventory that needs to be shipped.

Fraudulent Companies Charge Extra Fees

The main problem with low estimates is that the price is most usually non-determined, and they will probably charge you extra fees later. The companies must offer you a precise estimate without any unexpected expenses. With reputable firms, every piece of information is transparent.

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Be Careful When Signing a Contract With the Mover

Even if you’re feeling the most confident about the company you choose to provide you with an efficient move, contracts are super important and require your full attention. The movers will only be liable for the things they’ve written down and you’ve both signed. So ensure you’ve read everything, including the fine print.

You can ask someone that has knowledge of legal terms, such as a sales agent, to help you out with specific questions. It’s important to know that signing a blank contract is a huge no, even with the most basic service, such as packing services. You shouldn’t even agree for them to just pack the fragile items without a proper contract.

people signing papers
Never sign a blank contract when you're hiring a firm to relocate you

A Reputable Company Won’t Ask You To Pay For a Large Deposit Before the Relocation

Many people that are relocating to live in another country don’t understand that a legit professional mover will never ask you to pay a large deposit before the relocation even begins. You shouldn’t pay anything before the boxes with your household belongings are delivered to your new home.

Handing them money out before they’ve actually done any work is senseless, and you shouldn’t accept their request. The worst thing that could happen isn’t just losing money, but losing all of your personal household belongings from your home as well. That’s why you need to be super careful about who and when you’re giving away your money.

Another red flag regarding money and finances is if they don’t accept credit cards. You should transfer the money through your bank as the safest option. If they only take cash, deny the request since there are big chances they are not reputable or safe.

What Can You Do if You Get Scammed by a Mover?

If you consider all of the advice we gave you today, the chances that you’ll hire scammers are minimal. But, if something has slipped your mind or you’ve overlooked certain issues, you might just get scammed.

If you end up in a situation where your relocation has been turned into fraud, your goods were stolen or held hostage, or you’re being overcharged, you have to react. Here’s how to handle that problem:

  • Start by contacting the firm you hired and filing a complaint, where you state what you’re not satisfied with.
  • Write a review on their website – your negative experience might cause a commotion, and you’ll get their attention faster.
  • Expose them on social media by sharing your story and bad experience. This could help other people who might go through a similar experience in the future.
  • If you have enough evidence to prove you were scammed, you can bring the case to the small claims court. You can seek financial reimbursement for the damage that has been done to you.

Report Them to an Appropriate Organization

You can also opt for filing a complaint with certain relevant organizations when it comes to these types of frauds. There are various government agencies that are open to helping you with these types of situations. Here are some agencies that could be out of great use:

Is It Safer to Move Out on Your Own or by Hiring Professionals?

After you’ve read this entire article, you might be a bit scared about hiring a relocation firm to help you out with your move. However, that shouldn’t be the case. When you’re planning on living abroad, you’re probably aware of how many demanding tasks you have to finish.

It’s always easier to hire a company that’s going to handle the whole relocation process instead of you. They will pack up everything and will make sure to prevent things from breaking. With their international relocation, you won’t have to worry about relocation tasks. You’ll have more time to focus on preparing for your new chapter and practice tips for learning a new language.

If you’re willing to save time, energy, and nerves – you should consider full service from professional movers and use their service. They will also provide you with any additional service you may need, such as overseas car shipping or booking storage service.

Consider Getting Insurance Before Relocating Out of the City

One of the top priorities you should have during relocation is staying safe. This whole article is devoted to staying safe during relocating to another country, and the most important thing regarding that is getting relocating insurance. Most reputable firms will offer you insurance with their service, and it is not something you should ignore. You never know what could happen during your relocation, so getting insured is highly recommended.

Be Careful When Choosing Experts To Provide You With a Stress-Free Relocation

Now that you’ve read through some of the most important issues with relocation frauds, you know what to consider and keep in mind next time you’re finding help for your relocation. You shouldn’t give up on all professional movers because you think you could experience a scam, especially since relocations can be such a fun experience with learning about new cultures and making friends abroad. Whether you are relocating to Canada or maybe even planning a move to Hawaii, be sure to follow our instructions. You’ll find a reputable business that’s going to help this be a carefree experience.

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