Everyone wants their move to go smoothly. Finding the right home movers is an absolute priority for any family or individual moving from one place of residence to the next. In addition to choosing the right and honest moving company, you also need to know how to spot a fraudulent moving company.
Fortunately, a lot of rogue movers are very telling because of so many red flags. One of the most telling red flags is the infamous lowball estimate.
Identifying this red flag is essential to save yourself from some heartache, extreme inconvenience, and hassle that comes with being a victim to a moving scam.
How to Spot a Fraudulent Moving Company & Lowball Estimates
So what exactly are lowball estimates from movers?
How to spot a fraudulent moving company?
Lowball estimates are unrealistically low moving quotes that other moving companies offer. Unluckily, because the estimate given is so affordable and too-good-to-be-true, customers may naively say ‘yes’ to the quote and hire the mover.
And then it always leads to customers getting surprised by much more expensive final bills. Fraudulent movers who give lowball estimates give customers cheap quotes and then end costs double or triple the original move by the end.
Here are a few clues that will help you learn how to spot a fraudulent moving company that gives lowball estimates.
#1 They don’t inventory your belongings
Did the movers come to your house and check your household belongings in-person? Have they requested assessment of your items through photos or videos?
If your answer is ‘no,’ then you might be dealing with a moving company who scams people and gives lowball estimates. Be mindful that any estimates given via phone or online are typically inaccurate.
Think about it. How can a moving company provide you a true estimate when they haven’t even seen your belongings in-person?
Professional home movers assess the weight and number of your things. They will inquire about elevators, stairs, parking rules, and other concerns that affect the final estimate.
#2 Leaving out other costs and fees
An unfortunate sign of a lowball estimate is when you receive a moving quote that conveniently leaves out the miscellaneous fees. All moving estimates from an honest moving company will include services, fees, and add-ons.
That means fees for transportation and gas, packing services, labor costs, unpacking services, accessorial services, insurance, storage services, and even packing materials. All of these estimated quotes should be included in your moving quote.
#3 Estimates are “non-binding”
Run from any moving company that gives you a “non-binding” estimate. This means that the quote is not set in stone and will likely change depending on the actual weight of your belongings.
The chances are good that the mover will give you a low-ball and non-binding quote. Afterward, they will surprise you at the end with a final bill that’s higher than the original estimate.
Accept binding estimates or a binding not-to-exceed estimate only. That way, you are aware of the maximum amount that you would end up having to pay, and then you can budget accordingly.
Other Red Flags to Spot a Fraud Moving Company
Lowball estimates are one of the biggest red flags to look out for when you’re hiring a moving company. Other common red flags you should watch out for include:
- A moving company with no proper license or insurance.
- Movers demanding to be paid up-front.
- Unprofessional movers; meaning they lack business addresses, online presence, or business cards, and even rude behavior.
- Moving contracts that don’t look official.
- Movers refuse to put anything into writing.
- Reviews that don’t exist or aren’t stellar. The Better Business Bureau or the FMCSA can help you.
- Contracts that lack an option to choose valuation coverage.