Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Avoiding Moving Day Disasters

Last week we talked about how to know you’ve found a good mover. This week I want to add to this theme by making you aware of some of the scams that people have faced when putting their trust in a mover and a few more tips to avoid this from happening to you.

According to Dakshana Bascaramuty’s Globe and Mail article Smooth moves: How to spot a moving day scam, many things can happen if you are not cautious when hiring a mover.

June to September is the peak moving season in Canada. If you don’t plan ahead, this can make you vulnerable to scams with movers being in such high demand. Last year, complaints from customers lead to arrests of a Toronto moving company.

These scams include:

1.Arriving several hours late for the move, causing large problems for people who are required to book a service elevator or who have to vacate their home at a set time to allow for the people coming in.
2.Holding furniture hostage. Bascaramuty talks about one Toronto woman was forced to lug her own furniture down to the loading dock because her movers were three hours late. The movers then placed her items in the truck, locked it and refused to move it or return it to her until they were paid over two hundred dollars .
3.Charging extra fees for moving heavier pieces of moving them to a third floor.
4.Double booking and not showing up at all.

Tips to avoid scammers

1.Get an in-person quote from at least three companies. The mover should assess your home to see if you are both on the same page.
2.Get the price of the move and how long they estimate it will take in writing.
3.Be wary of the lowest quote. Know that the prices are comparable to their competition or they are likely just too good to be true.
4.Do they online operate from an elusive cell phone number? Make sure there is a physical address and that they are not just operating a side business.
5.If they only take cash for the job, do not charge you the taxes and will not take credit cards or a certified cheque, find someone else.
6.If someone tries to hold onto your items, charging you more than the agreed amount, if you have the quote – call the police. You don’t have to pay them extra.
7.Ask about their insurance policy; get them to explain it in writing in case things are damaged.
8.File a complaint with the Better Business Bureau if the company is registered with the Canadian Association of Movers.
9.Use real people references over anonymous online ones.

Remember these, and the tips from last week, and you should have a happy moving experience.

By: Andrew Brown and Sharon Osvald

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