WHY ARE THERE SO MANY MOVING SCAMS IN FLORIDA?
Florida is known for its beautiful beaches and amazing weather, but many criminals call Florida their home. It seems like every other month there’s a news article about moving scams in Florida. Just recently there was an article in the Sun Sentinel about a mover that ripped off more than 900 customers. Why is it so easy for these con artists to get away with in time and time again? In this article, we will discuss the problem in South Florida and how to avoid becoming a victim. As a consumer, you also have a responsibility to educate yourself before signing on the dotted line. Check out this article on moving industry laws.
I’ve been in the moving industry for 13 years. I’m on the ground and hear stories of moving scams almost daily. Some of the things I hear are shocking, so I wanted to educate you on what takes place. Before I begin, I would like to make clear that most moving companies are excellent. The information provided in this post is specific to moving scams in Florida (select few companies). Later I will provide details on how to avoid these scams.
Okay, so you come across a company with a beautiful website. They show images of trucks and claim that they’re the best moving company in the industry. The sales rep begins to tell you that they’ve been in business for many years and have experience with long distance moving. They offer you a fantastic price, so you book your move. On the day of pick up the foreman tell you that you owe him an additional $3000. You say “well that wasn’t the deal” and he says, “either you pay, or you don’t get your stuff.” This is the most common scam, and it has a name – hostage load. It’s highly illegal, but companies seem to get away with it, but why?
Department of Transportation
The DOT is the agency that governs the moving industry. The DOT is made up of a handful of employees; meanwhile, there are over 7000 registered moving companies in the nation. By the time a company received so many complaints, and the DOT catches wind, they shut down and start another one. There is a black market where moving companies can buy DOT numbers which aren’t traced back to them, so they can keep the scam going. There are some scammers that have had 5 “moving companies” going at the same time which all compete with each other. Before you choose a mover do some research. Check out this article on the top 5 complaints in the moving industry.
HOW TO AVOID A MOVING SCAM
There are many ways to avoid moving scams, but I’m going to talk about the number one issue – price shopping. Long distance moving can be costly, I get it, but it’s not an industry where you want to look for the least high price. You will get what you pay for and some. Going with the cheapest mover can end up costing you more money, damage, loss, and possibly total loss. I’ve been in moving for 15 years, and I get calls from people all the time saying they received 10 quotes and are looking for the cheapest option. I shake my head and say thank you for your time. There is no way that a mover that shares similar costs to me can come in $3000 less expensive. All quality moving companies share identical expenses.
As a customer, it’s your responsibility to do your research. A quick Google search can help, but you should check the DOT SAFER website for company history, license information and complaint history. You should also read the “right and responsibilities” manual to educate yourself. Moving doesn’t have to be a stressful nightmare, so dome some research and don’t look for the cheapest moving company you can find.