Moving to Staten Island? Here are Some Helpful Tips to Avoid Moving Scams

Posted by Casandra Properties on Monday, October 21st, 2019 at 8:21am.

 

Casandra Properties is dedicated to its community and clients before, during, and post purchasing a home. One of the most frequent questions we are asked, are referrals in the moving industry after buying a new home!  

Moving to a new place is a two-fold adventure: while there’s the excitement that comes with the prospect of relocating and discovering a new city or borough, there’s also the stress caused by the many details of how to actually move from one place to another. If doing all the moving by yourself is not a viable option, chances are you’ll have to hire the services of a moving company. But, with so many options out there, how can you find the one that best fits your specific needs? And most important of all, how can you avoid getting scammed? 

There are many guides and research out there to make sure your relocation goes smoothly, without unpleasant surprises caused by less-than-ethical practices. Here are our main takeaways from our experiences and research:

Avoiding Moving Scams Casandra Properties

  1. Find out whether you prefer a moving “carrier” or a “broker”

Moving “carriers” are movers in the traditional sense: they are companies that take your goods from one place to another and are 100% responsible for anything that happens. Moving “brokers”, on the other hand, act as liaisons between you and a moving carrier, helping you find a moving company that fits your needs and your budget. However, while these “brokers” will handle all the administrative stuff (billing, scheduling, etc), they are ultimately not responsible for the wellbeing of your goods. 

  1. A company’s “reputation” is its best predictor of quality

According to ConsumersAdvcoate.org, researching a moving carrier’s reputation is the most important step in evaluating its overall performance. The best way of doing this is by using the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s search database which includes safety and complaints records for all moving carriers working interstate, as well as every company’s insurance and licensing information. You can conduct a search by using a company’s name, DOT number, or MC number, all of which should be clearly advertised on the company’s website. 

  1. In-home survey estimates are preferred 

 

As the name implies, “in-home surveys” refer to visits to your home by a moving company’s employee in order to create an accurate estimate of costs. This way (as opposed to an online or video survey) your estimate will be more accurate and, most importantly, binding, which means there should be no fee changes on moving day (unless circumstances change, or you ask for additional services). In the case of non-binding estimates, you could be charged extra fees on moving day for services such as packing materials, furniture assembly, and even for carrying stuff up and down flights of stairs. 

Moving Company Casandra Properties

  1. Get acquainted with the 110% Rule

If your estimate is non-binding, the “110% Rule” says you can’t be charged more than 10% over a non-binding estimate on moving day. The company, however, has up to 30 days after moving day to charge you for these extra fees. This rule is contained in the US Department of Transportation’s “Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move” booklet. 

  1. Defend yourself from “Hostage Load”

If for whatever reason the moving refuses to deliver your belongings, effectively taking your cargo hostage, they will be in direct violation of federal law. If this unfortunate event happens to you, call the police as soon as possible and file a complaint with the FMCSA, which can fine the unlawful company, and even suspend its license. 

  1. Don’t be afraid to ask questions 

Lots of them, if you need to. From the most minor details to questions regarding insurance policies, don’t be afraid to ask until you feel you’ve gotten all the information you need in order to make a knowledgeable decision. Remember, it’s your things, your moving, your new home, and no company should take away from your hard-earned peace of mind. Happy moving!

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