How To Avoid Moving Company Scams

I was the victim of a moving company scam, and I want to tell you my story so that it doesn’t happen to you. I recently was reassigned to the Cincinnati office and given three weeks to arrange a move. My company recommended that I use a website to get moving quotes – they had good luck with the site in the past and had never heard any complaints. But I thought I was smarter, and I instead called a friend of the family, let’s call him Angelo. Angelo has a trucking business and he said he does moving and relocation after hours.

How To Avoid Moving Company ScamsAngelo offered to do the job for me for about half the moving allowance given to me by my company. In retrospect, I should have seen this as a red flag, but I guess I got a little greedy. My stuff, while valuable to me, is not expensive. Nonetheless, I wanted the job done right, and Angelo gave me all the right answers to my questions. He even sent over a pile of used boxes so that I could pack up everything. The deal was that I would give him $500 up front and then another $750 on the day of the move.

I packed up everything I wanted to keep, slowly realizing that all my possessions are pretty crappy. I ended up with about 30 boxes plus the furniture and appliances. Angelo told me to label all the boxes, which I did. When I asked him about insurance, he reassured me, telling me he “never had any problems in the past”. So I let the insurance slide. Angelo’s crew was scheduled to come over Tuesday night, but I got a phone call on Monday putting back the moving date till Friday. That was pushing my time limit but I said OK anyway.

On Friday night, the crew shows up at my apartment. Four guys! I was expecting just two, so I was pretty happy – I thought this would go twice as fast. It took them about two hours to load up the truck, which by the way was a bread delivery truck for some reason. They got ready to leave, and asked for $1,500. I told them there must be some mistake, the deal was for $750. The driver said no mistake, Friday night rates are double. I called Angelo, but his number was disconnected. The driver said the truck was about to leave, and if I ever wanted to see my stuff again, I’d pay up. What could I do?

Don’t let something like this happen to you. Use a reputable online relocation broker, and don’t trust friends of the family.